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Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge


Harold Fickett | 02.06.08


Being Human

I grew up in Los Angeles in two opposed worlds. I was the son of an evangelical minister who led a mega-church of 12,000 members. I was also the child of my time and place, the counter-culture of the late 1960s. The drive from our church in the San Fernando Valley to Sunset Boulevard and rock clubs like the Troubadour and the Whiskey crossed boundaries of thought, feeling, and imagination at a greater distance than the Southern hemisphere.

I should have grown up to be, in my way, Billy Graham’s Franklin, Robert Shuller’s son Robert, Pat Robertson’s Gordon, Jerry Falwell’s Jonathan. (Evangelicalism tends to be a family business—my grandfather actually began the intended succession.)

But I had too many troubling thoughts. The good pagans I knew associated with the counter-culture often seemed to be much better people than my fellow Christians. They cared about social justice and adopting a way of life that transcended materialism and social status. They were far more honest about their thoughts and feelings and what drove them. They saw connections between beauty, the arts, sexuality, and the transcendent. They were human in a way that I wanted to be.

The Christian “bargain” seemed to be that one had to be far less than human in order to be appropriately spiritual. One committed oneself to a spiritual boosterism for the sake of evangelizing and pretended that one’s negative emotions or misgivings or doubts didn’t exist. After all, we knew the truth, and could reason out its every permutation. Even teenagers acted as if God had given them a crystal ball into their daily lives and futures.

I never quite gave up on my own spiritual quest because of one abiding thought: this life means something. I searched long and hard—and go on doing so—in order to find how Christianity, particularly in its Catholic understanding, accounts for that meaning. I eventually found my way into seeing Catholicism’s God as one to whom I could bring all of my humanity, in order for Christ to transform that humanity into Christ’s perfectly human image. This means being more human, not less so.

There is so much more to say here—a world of things. And that’s why I’ve become part of GodSpy, because only by keeping company with everybody, as Jesus did—the good pagans and the bad religious folk and everyone in between and beyond in the company of saints—can we share in Christ’s work of revealing the whole world as God’s sees it. That’s the only way to embrace the world, as Jesus did, in self-sacrificing love. This cannot be done merely by way of prescription—pointing out what doctrine teaches, although that’s an invaluable part of the task and there’s often too little of it in the Catholic Church. But there has to be a being with the world in the struggles that are common to all, believers and non-believers alike. This must take place through direct ministry—which is the primary task—but also imaginatively and in reasoned discussion as well. The latter is the task of GodSpy and other Catholic media, and it’s long past time we emerged from our ghettos of God-talk and embraced an unflinching candor in describing what it’s truly like to be a Christian. We need to translate into today’s idiom why the faith accounts for the kind of spiritual inklings that once informed the counter-culture and today remain, as always, the deepest sources of our humanity.

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By damon AT 02.25.08 12:19AM Not Rated


My personal experience of “being with the world” have led me to feel like I was swimming way to far from shore occasionally.  Only to find that like Peter, it was only my lack of faith that was causing me to have to swim in the first place.

As a Catholic “cowboy” I wear many hats, no pun intended.  Yesterday after playing my guitar in Mass father Joe gave me a packet of informational material about the Deaconate, a vocation he suggested I consider.  This packet of information had to wait in the front seat of my pickup that evening while I joined my small-town cronies in a back-room-of-the-bar-late-night-poker game. 

The situation begged the question: Can we bring our faith into EVERY place in the world, or are we better of as my mother suggested, “Don’t play with pigs, you will just get dirty, and they will love it!”

Perhaps it is our strength of caracter and spiritual maturity that dictates how far out into the pool we are allowed to wade.


By star AT 04.11.09 01:14AM Not Rated


” I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. ” says Jesus, / Him entering into our humanity in order to save us. Likewise, we can’t isolate ourselves from one another , as Jesus has taught us, to ” Love one another as I have loved you. ” Being sensitive to one another’s needs, doing the corporal and the spiritual works of mercy, makes us truly human. As we humbly struggle, to put up on the lampstand Christ’s Light to brighten the world, let us ask of God’s Light to brighten our little corner of ourselves, so we may be able to radiate Jesus ’ Light to others. Blessed Good Friday to all as we anticipate the glorious joys of Easter !


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