Have you ever felt that people spend too much time arguing opinions instead of asking “bigger questions” that might actually draw them to consider new ideas? I have felt that way a lot. It drives me nuts.
It’s reflective of the ultimate counter-evangelistic approach: dig in the heels and shout louder. It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t help. There must be a better way.
Humility allows us to gracefully engage with persons who hold different views than us. This involves listening, but does not involve being walked over. However, if we are not already striving to be the living reason why someone might want to orient their own life more deeply towards Christ, then we ought to realize that our words/actions will likely bear little fruit.
When we engage with others, we are both drawn into a shared journey (which implies some degree of relationship). In this journey, however, the “right” questions can reveal a person’s desire to hold on to particular attachments to this world, or it can reveal their desire to strive to continuously and fully die to themselves.
However, without engagement, we have no shared journey for this to occur.
A journey to what?
To Truth. Christians believe that regardless of how many counterfeit banknotes exist, the real banknotes still exist. That is, no matter the amount of departures from truth, actual truth still exists. However, because we live in a post-Christian world where many people see Church as “opinion” (one opinion of many, which gives people permission to disregard it), we cannot simply get out there and “tell” truth at people. In fact, in some places, telling the truth is against the law.
Instead of merely “telling” truth, we might do well to aim to reflect the truth of God’s love and mercy in every breath of our life (as best we can). God knows we aren’t perfect, and he knows that we can only do all we can do. However, as hearts are convicted of his love first, the truths of the Catholic Church become known as an after-effect. And as truths become known, the idea that the Church is merely opinion begins to wane.
One of the primary truths is that God is beyond the parameters of our universe – and is thus beyond being measurable. This is important because it opens up a whole new reality for people to respond to. And when people become awakened to the immeasurable love of God and the truths authored by Him into our universe, they incrementally become aware of and appreciative of the beauty of the order of Creation, or in other words, the art of the Divine Artist.
We are his art
The beautiful art of the Divine Artist is reflected in our bodies. There are truths written into our bodies that we can try to suppress, but we cannot run from them forever.
As a person who grew up experiencing transgender inclinations, I know first-hand how deeply the desire is to be in a different body. However, when I used to look into a mirror, even though my heart saw myself as a female, I still knew that I was still a male. It was a truth I couldn’t outrun and certainly couldn’t wish away. It was a truth that transcended my existence as a living person. That is, even after death each cell in my body will still reflect the truth of how I was structurally created: XY.
Likewise, with my promiscuity, I was using my sexual faculties in ways counter to the order of Creation. However, because I wanted to be honest with myself about wanting to live in a way that is respectful of the art of the Divine Artist, I knew I had to disengage in those encounters. And I did this because of my love for the Divine Artist. And this has brought me joy beyond measure, because giving a very special gift (sexuality) to someone you love (God), is life-giving.
How I got here
The love of Christ was humbly expressed to me, and that convicted my heart, which drew me to become engaged. That engagement drew me to ask questions, which drew me to see that the “rules” of the Church were not “invented” like I previously thought.
Rather, I found out that the Church was upholding truths of our universe – and of our creation – and was merely inviting me (and drawing) me to uphold those truths as well. I also realized that in my past anguish, the Church wasn’t rejecting me but I was rejecting the Church – because I had been rejecting the truths it upheld. I have since come to experience a degree of joy and belonging in the Catholic Church that I never before knew was possible – while striving towards holiness within a shared journey with so many others.
All I needed to do was let go of opinion and move beyond the mindset of “Church as Rules” to open my heart to “Church as Mystery to Pursue.” From there, I needed to grow in my trust of God that he would reveal his Mystery to me on his time. I hope and pray others might try to do the same.
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