This blog used to be a lot more personal, and a lot more willing to look at my whole Cathlolic schtick from a more personal angle. In recent years I’ve retreated from that. It’s certainly made this blog a less awkward and more comfortable place, though I have at times felt the absence.
A good part of this is due to the often rather pressurized nature of Catholic social media. Which can at times be unhealthy – doubly so if the personal issue you’re talking about the most has to do with sexuality.
I do need to recap for the newer followers who haven’t dug through the archives: I’m a dude and typically find other dudes more attractive than women. Call me gay, or bisexual-leaning-gay or same-sex-attracted or whatever other boutique sexual identity you think best fits. But I also think that the Church’s teaching on human sexuality is correct. This is not a particularly fun hill to occupy, and having stuff that affects you intimately becoming culture war fodder (both in terms of Church via the broader culture, but also all the intra-Church disputes that tend to crop up) can be upsetting at times, to put it mildly.
Anyway, I reached a point where, in talking about this, I felt that I was just pointlessly making myself distressed. So I decided to disengage and let you guys deal with relatively less hot-button stuff, like JRPG retrospectives and ranting about Lynch and Malick, as well as the more anodyne writing I’ve done at Beneath the Tangles.
But I also went and got my Masters in Theology, during the course of which my honeymoon with the Church ended. I found that, absent all those gooey feelings, I often defaulted to being a mediocre-to-bad Catholic. Which coincided with me studying how to intellectualize and talk fancy about the Faith. I do believe that being taken down a few pegs in this manner has probably spared me from becoming a much more insufferably and ruinously prideful asshole down the line, but it’s left me feeling a tad like a phony.
I’ve had to fight against the dispiriting thought of my faith just being a sham, that I never really was a serious Catholic, that one day I’d just realize I didn’t give a shit. Every time I feel like some crisis is on the horizon, it has a way of not quite reaching critical mass. I keep going to Confession, finding myself in the whole sacramental rigmarole. In some mysterious fashion, it persists in me, or at least in some part of my soul, in spite of all my internal drama – like how Star Trek Voyager always managed to undergo the most surreal ordeals and still somehow return to the status quo. Or, perhaps more pointedly, like how the dubious narrator of The Book of the New Sun travels through a fragmented world, failing to be a better man than he is, but still being invisibly guided on the way.
All this has been going on parallel to my finding myself as an artist, which goes to show simply how one’s life can often develop in strange nonlinear patterns. And also kinda makes me resemble that peculiar, yet somewhat classy 19th-mid 20th century archetype of the gay aesthete who has his foot in the door of the Church.
It’s not terribly inspiring, but I do think that what is asked of me the most right now is trust – trust that even being in the Church awkwardly is better than not being in it at all, trust in God in the face of failure, and oh my goodness it’s past 4 I should wrap this up.
So I’ve pretty much spared you all longer, more repetitive and edgier versions of this post these recent years.