As you might expect of a priest, I spent several years formally studying the doctrine of God from a wide variety of philosophical, anthropological, sociological, psychological, and religious perspectives. I was pretty young at the time, and I think one of the follies of youth can be a certain hubris. At the end of my studies, I believed I had God pretty well figured out.
But there was... a problem.
The God I thought I had figured out didn’t really hold up.
Some of my beliefs began to feel false. Doubts grew. That’s not an easy place to be if you are a priest.
At the time I only saw two choices: believe what I had been told was true, or become an unbeliever. Neither felt right, and so I did what I think most of us do in these situations: I ignored my discomfort and the issues behind it.
That’s not a workable long-term strategy, of course. With time I realized I was going to have to think more deeply about God. Initially, this felt like a betrayal. I was ashamed of myself for not having the strength and courage to uphold what I thought I had promised to uphold. My younger self would not trust my older self, and would think I have gone far astray. That has been something of a hard pill to swallow.
But the simple truth is: I was wrong. Sometimes terribly wrong, and terribly wrong about very important things. I expect I still am. But here's the thing. At this stage in life, as much as I appreciate my youthful passion, I do not think I would fully trust anyone my age who has not come to a similar place on at least some subject or treasured belief.
There is one thing has not changed. In fact, this belief has only grown. It is the belief that there is no question more important than the question of God, and in particular of who God is. Everything I have ever studied, seen, heard, and experienced affirms this.
And so I invite you to join me at St. Matt's on a journey. For the next five weekends in Lent, we'll explore together a more accurate (and life-giving) knowledge of the God who Is. This isn't an exercise in dogmatism, but discovery. I do hope you'll come along!