Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Acknowledging and Embracing the New Counterculture

G. K. Chesterton and John Paul the Great Catholic University are keeping me pretty busy. I'm following a study course on G. K. Chesterton (as noted in previous posts) but along with that I've started an 11 week course on the basics of the Catholic Faith.

Being a cradle Catholic who took a long break and then returned home, I did all the usual things you do when you are raising your kids in the Faith but after they were launched and in the world there wasn't as much learning going on - you know - the nitty gritty stuff; the who, what, when, where, and how of it all. Oh, I knew quite a lot but something seemed missing, how to express that deeper understanding, the sources of understanding.

Discovering this study program through JP the Great U. came at a time when I was really searching, asking, and praying from direction and understanding. Going back to school was no option; online learning wasn't an option. Too much of life now is fluid and refuses to be committed to timelines and deadlines and structure. I wasn't interested in starting a program and finishing it with the idea of having something to show for it for any larger purpose than what it could do for me. And, by extension, what that knowledge could provide to me to share with others.

In addition, I am seeking a balance. Day to day life is accompanied by a constant din of hollow values; values without spirit; values missing the element of God as the source - the idea that something is bigger at work, making it all happen. Humanism and aethism have a strong grip on our society; mainline Protestant churches aren't growing; big box churches are. Big box churches, lead by a charismatic leader, are only as secure as the person at the center of it all and since that person is not Christ, are very fragile.

Split upon split happens. Leaders and their faithful followers come and go. Disappointment and searching is compounded by more of the same. Even among Catholics, the following of one popular priest from parish to parish is in evidence. This sort of splitting off is as weakening upon faith and community as the split of a big box church. I've seen it happen.

The past year has revealed to me a surprising realization from my internal musings. I've become countercultural. Me, a teen/young adult of the 60's/70's, missed it the first time it came around in my life. Age and wisdom has taught me that I didn't miss a lot. The Woodstock Generation was a messy one. But now another countercultural wave has come around and I've determined that there is a lot I will not comply with. As Chesterton said in "The Everlasting Man"

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

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