The Wingèd Man’s Faith Journey, Part IV

25 January 2007

I’m not sure when this part of the faith journey began.

Did it begin with starting graduate school? Perhaps; I started drinking a little less and was significantly happier than I was in the past.

Did it begin with meeting the woman who eventually became my wife? Perhaps; after this, I drank even less and was even happier.

In any event, this part was most definitely underway right before our son was conceived. I know this because I checked my old breviary out of my alma mater’s library. I say “my” because I had checked and re-checked it out as an undergraduate, holding on to it for most of my four years there. At the time I last checked it out, I was an adjunct faculty member which gave me unlimited borrowing priveleges. I still have the breviary and the library has not asked for it back; they know where to find me. Considering that, from the stamps in it, I seem to be the only person who ever borrowed it, I don’t think anyone’s missed it. If I ever find a 1964 Benziger Brothers English-language breviary, or if anyone ever wants to give me one, I’ll return it.

Some time in early 2004, I began praying the Hours. I prayed using a BCP sometimes, but I preferred my old breviary. During this time we also visited a few churches: a Unitarian church, a Catholic church, even an Episcopal church, and were unsatisfied.

My wife and I conceived our son, and I became more and more interested in religion. I began to have a sense of call. Not to ordained ministry, but simply to relationship with God. I began to read more and more theology and decided I wanted to go to divinity school. Not a seminary, but a non-aligned school of theology.

Then I read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Gilead is a special book. I cannot do it justice. In many ways, it was this book that roused in me a sense of call to ordained ministry.

But how? How could this be? I wasn’t even a member of a church! I wasn’t even sure I was a Christian, and certainly not in any orthodox sense. We decided to have our son baptised in the United Church of Christ, with Robinson assisting with the baptism. For about six months after his baptism, we didn’t really go to church at all, but then again, we had an infant.

Then, after Beth and the Little Guy attended a playgroup there, we went to MyChurch, and something really struck a chord. It was liturgical, fairly liberal, and both my wife and I felt at home. My son loved it. The sermons the (now-)former pastor delivered made a profound impact on me and sealed it: I was converted.

Although, at this point, I had not thought of myself as a Christian since I was in college, now I did. Again. Within a month or two, I visited the monastery and the realization that I was also called to be a Benedictine dawned on me.

While things have happened in the intervening time, this brings us up to speed, more or less, with my faith journey. This last phase is difficult to describe because I have difficulty pin-pointing the beginning, but I also can’t figure out where it ended. Because it hasn’t ended. My conversion is ongoing. I turned back to Christ and the Church at MyChurch that day when the pastor said, “The time of Protestantism is over,” and I realized that some Christians really, truly believed in the kind of ecumenical, progressive, evangelical Christianity that —in some sense— was what I had always believed. The Pastor mentioned that someone once asked him, “What would you say to someone who said, ‘What is a Lutheran?’; the Pastor’s reply was, “I’d say, ‘How can I help you?'”

Profound, difficult, even confusing words. Words of conversion. My conversion.

I hope these posts have been helpful in understanding who this Wingèd Man is. I hope they have been enjoyable. I have learned a lot about myself in the process.


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