Sunday, May 15, 2011

Right Where We Are Wrong

Matthew Warner has an excellent blog of Catholic social commentary, with short, memorable posts that go to the heart of things. Here is one about our human need, not for a 'spirituality' that tells us how wonderful we are or a morality that rationalizes and justifies everything we want to do anyway, but for a religion that challenges us.

We have a modern snobbishness that has reduced religion to a personal preference. One huge problem with that is that once a religion becomes merely a product of your own personal preference, it’s no longer able to do what it is meant to do: Transform you. There is no use for it anymore other than to affirm what you already are. It becomes a useless, destructive exercise in self-gratification.

G.K. Chesterton said, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

Yet we spend all of our time focused on finding religion that is right where we are right. Sure, it’s self-gratifying. But it’s ultimately a waste of time.

Instead, find a religion that challenges you to grow. Find a religion that has proven itself a trusty guidepost for millennia. A religion you can push up against and test your rightness and your wrongness. Find a religion that makes you a little uncomfortable sometimes. That challenges you. That rubs you the wrong way as it smooths off your rough edges. That makes you feel it when you mess up. That sheds light on your darkness. That grounds you when you lose touch. That gives deep meaning and purpose to the hardest parts of your life. That brings strength to your weakness.

Find a religion that is right where you are wrong. It takes great courage and humility. But it’s the only religion worth finding.

Check out the post and follow the links at

The suggestion of shopping around for a religion is itself troubling, of course - it conjures up images of the 'bitter and twisted' cafeteria Catholics (or anti-Catholic Catholics) at National Catholic Reporter. Perhaps spiritual search or search for truth would be better. But Warner's post speaks to the way our subjectivist, relativist, and self-serving tendencies prevent our finding the very spiritual home so many are looking for.

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