why write this book?
I started this project about 4 years ago. My intention at that time was to articulate in words what my relationship with God was about. I was born into the Catholic Church in the fifties and I was the youngest of 5 Catholic children. Much of my exposure to God was imposed upon me by my family, and by my Catholic School and Church environments; so at that point in my life I didn’t have much say in what I believed in or why. I was just going through the motions of a faith walk. At the beginning of the 70s, fresh out of high school, I had a spiritual experience which brought me into a new (improved) faith perspective. Then 30 years on, just shortly into the new millennium, I left the church altogether and did so in response to deep spiritual urgings to do it. The going was difficult at first and I harbored some anger and resentments in my heart in those early days. I wasn’t angry or resentful towards people of the faith communities, though…in fact I missed the many rich and joyful times I had shared with them. I wasn’t angry with God either, it was the ineptness and unfocused state of the church institution that seemed to overcast and loom large above the path of my spiritual journey. I became aware that church as it existed was no longer where I wanted to be. At the same time I was feeling like God was close by…like He was taking me or leading me to someplace rather than simply warning me off going to church.
In the beginning of the writing process, my motivation or passion for writing was fueled by negative feelings. Again these negative energies were never aimed at God nor (most of the time) at people from out of my own past experiences…they were aimed at the convoluted beliefs that seemed to resonate with Christians in general. As I moved closer to the crux of what I was attempting to say, I found myself focusing upon the Bible as a target of my new-found if not embittered perspective. I went through a period wherein I thought the way I would have to go was to site the Bible as a major culprit directly responsible for these convoluted beliefs Christians seemed so fixated upon. As I got even deeper into the project though, I realized there were other factors coming across my contemplative radar that, if I chose to dig deep enough I might be able to flesh out some of these. As I began to dig, the very endeavor seemed to affect my attitude and I felt the sword of ire slip from my fingers and fall to the floor. Once I was able to make inroads using this new approach, I found positive results across a broad spectrum of potentially vexing topics I wanted to cover.
In the process of reaching the finished product as it is being offered today I had to wrestle with many changes—even to the extent of (two years in) rethinking then redesigning the whole conceptual layout of the book. Amidst this wrestling process, I found myself rewarming to the scriptures, but in a way that doesn’t give the Bible (as a 1-book offering) more steam than it deserves. I came to realize that scripture passages need to stand on their own two legs and not be given carte blanch just because they are in the Bible. Once I thrashed my way to this conclusion, the process seemed, if not easier much more doable. This same change of heart happened for me towards the Catholic Church and I talk about some of those experiences in the book. And here at the end of the road I feel happier about the project and I believe the book is a stronger offering because of these changes.