Housekeeping (With Some Notes on the Really True Truth)

1) The last two or three parts of the Tarot series should go up next week. I didn’t want to dump them all at once. They will have a little something on some of the more puzzling images, a bit on the work of Valentin Tomberg, and rules for playing for those who are interested.

“I see a B-movie director in a dress and Tor Johnson in my future.”

Also, this week was County Fair, and I’ve got chickens to show, so posting is light.

2) Following the death of my father, another family member has been taken gravely ill. Prayers for our family in this time are always welcome.

3) As expected, those with occult and neo-pagan leanings have found these posts and taken issue with my tone (which tends to mocking at times) and my criticism of divination (which is either false or evil), but largely remained polite. (At least the ones I allow to post.) I thank them for this.

I’ve certainly acknowledged in the past my natural tendency to cutting comments and rudeness, a skill honed by two decades as a media critic. A friend who was involved in neo-paganism at a time when I was following Michael Harner’s shamanic practices urged a common sense approach of “compassion,” noting that most of the Wiccans he knew when he practiced were “kind, but damaged.”

It’s hard to find a balance, however, particularly when I was once lost on similar false paths. I spent 15 years adrift before rediscovering the truth, to my complete and utter horror.

The absolute last thing I wanted to be was a Catholic again.

But God took hold of me, shook me hard, and gave me a clear and undeniable glimpse of the Truth. You don’t turn back from a gift like that. You just embrace the challenge and try your best to live up to it and spread the word. Sometimes you’re effective, sometimes not. We’re all just working things out.

However…

4) One aspect of the Patheos format is that everyone–of course–thinks their religion is right. Some have a very open-minded approach to faith, promoting the “many paths to truth” notions that allows for Christianity, Islam, Wicca, and Buddhism to all be equally true and equally valid.

Let me be abundantly clear: this is nonsense.  There may indeed be many paths on the way to the ultimate Truth, and I followed a particularly bent one myself, but there is only one Truth. You don’t make your own truth just by believing it. You seek and discover a Truth that pre-exists. That ultimate Truth is Christ and Him crucified.

Other faiths contain deep and profound truths as well, but it is our firm belief that the wholeness of the Truth is found in the Church alone.

A climate of moral relativism and go-along-to-get-alongism makes that kind of statement seem shocking if not downright anti-social, but that’s just a quirk of modernism. We’re all searching for the truth. To claim to have found it seems arrogant, except for this: it wasn’t my truth. It wasn’t even a truth I wanted.

A path has to go somewhere. It may be poetic to talk about the journey being more important that the destination, but it’s not particularly useful, or else we’d all just travel in circles. The journey is important, but the destination is all that really matters. You have to keep your eyes on it–on that Truth–or else you get lost in the undergrowth, and the journey is wasted.

I found it, fully formed, and had to adapt my very being to its demands. That’s an ongoing process, one I fail at daily, if not hourly. I’ll do my best to deal politely with people who hold different beliefs, but when two people believe theirs is the final and ultimate truly true Truth, someone’s feelings are probably going to get hurt. If that bothers somebody, so be it. We’re all grownups.

My daily news feed is crammed full of lies and attacks and insults about my faith: far, far, FAR more than your average wiccan or occultist will encounter in a decade of similar reading. We just kind of shrug it off until it comes down to violating our rights, or consign the people who write and say such things to our mental “jerkoff” file. If you’d like to consign me there, go right ahead.

I’ve said before: what I write here is for my co-religionists. I’m a catechist, not an apologist. I teach the faith to the faithful. If, along the way, that persuades others, that’s nice, but I have almost none of the diplomatic skill that makes a good evangelist. Others are welcome to join in, but we tend to speak a unique language of faith and have our own priorities, and we’re not inclined to moderate them in the interests of soothing the easily-wounded egos of people who don’t really like us anyway.

The truth can be hard, and finding it an unpleasant shock. It will, of necessity, lead to conflict. You can’t really be free until you’re broken, and breaking is a painful and unpleasant process. But in the healing we’re free to be remade in the image of the one Truth.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Maggie Goff

    I was so broken that I was almost dead. I thank Him every day (all day long actually) that He didn’t give up on me. And of course I know that He wouldn’t… right up to my last breath. If it came to that. I am so willfull, but not so much anymore. Last place I thought I’d be, too, was back in the Catholic Church, and it took decades but here I am where I know without a doubt I belong.

  • hotboogers

    Thank you. Truth is true, and there can be only one.

    “I’m a catechist, not an apologist.”
    I would guess most Americans, including Catholics, don’t know the difference. Then of course, there is the syndrome of passing around a web link to all one’s co-whatevers in horror of its errors and the desire to inundate it with rebuttals. Sad. You have my admiration in being so very public in your faith.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I’m to the point that I think most of the apologists would do well to learn catechesis first.


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