Thursday, April 30, 2009

Faith found and lost

Immediately after posting my gouge on the Pew Forum's latest research yesterday, I drove to work listening to On Point with Tom Ashbrook. He was interviewing William Lobdell, a former religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times and author of the book Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace, whose personal story of faith and religious practice is odd. The program website summarizes it well:

"Award-winning journalist William Lobdell grew up an indifferent Episcopalian. Drifted from faith. By age 28, his life was a mess. He couldn’t stand the person he’d become. A friend told him, 'You need God.'

"Lobdell found Jesus. Felt his heart split wide open. Was born again, to the tune of Amazing Grace. Was saved.

"And then, over fifteen years, it all fell apart. Now, Lobdell puts himself in the ranks of American atheists. And he’s telling the wrenching story of his journey into and out of faith."
It was an interesting interview. Lobdell is very honest about where he stands, but quite unclear as to why. One of the questions posed, which reduces faith to moralism, is "If Christians are no more ethical than atheists, why belong to a church?" While that is a good question, it is reductive and ignores the fact that Christians see the world and ourselves as fallen, but in the process of being redeemed, this is a very uneven process. I mean, if we were magically perfected by being baptized, or coming to faith in Christ, there would be no need for any other sacrament, least of all confession. In addition to Giussani, another antidote for this kind of reductive view is Timothy Radcliffe's What Is The Point of Being A Christian? Catholic Christianity is not now and never has been strictly binary, that is, either/or, but both/and, accounting for reality according to the totality of its factors.

I don't mind stating that I am suffering from blogger's blah. So, unless really moved, there will be much less filling this cyber space. It seems that unless you can state something in 140 characters or less, nobody's gonna take the time. Don't look for me on Twitter, I have difficult enough time convincing myself participate on Facebook. Call me a Luddite, but I stand opposed to reduction and exalting quantity over quality, our ability to reason is already short-circuited enough. I am very interested in what others think, should they choose to take the time. The end of a month is a good time to shift into a lower gear.


  1. I've never heard of bloggers blah... interesting! I'll miss you if you don't blog for a while. Did you know it's Sharon's birthday today?

  2. I think its interesting you should post this...because my prayer is often, and was this morning, for Gods grace to change me from within and help me to be aware of my faults and weaknesses that he wishes for me to recognize and change.

    (I think that's what we're talking about here - I admit I am quite often a little disjointed, and slow to catch the drift)

    I love you In Christ, Scott. And I love the thoughts and reflections that you share with us here on your blog.

  3. P.S. I can't tell you how often I am touched by what you write, but don't dare comment even though I'd like to because I can't find words!

  4. I appreciate the kind words and more than that the genuine support. I don't mind admitting that I always get a little burned out this time of year. I have no one blame, not even myself. I am not angry or disappointed, just looking at what I need to get done in the face of all my commitments and it can get me a little chippy.

    I do not intend to stop blogging. I love it too much. I do intend to slow down for awhile. I do not operate under the illusion that by typing on my laptop I am changing the world, the church, etc. I admire people that experiment with to put to good use all new social media. Sharon is a true pioneer. Who knows? Perhaps eventually I'll follow, just not now.