The following is a transcript of a Raised Catholic podcast episode. To listen to the episode, click here.
Today is episode 95: Where Are You?
Hi friends. Today I have a short episode centered around one big question: Where Are You?
As you may know, I’m a longtime music minister in a small campus chapel. I’ve been singing at this church, accompanied by my husband on guitar, for over two decades now and we’ve seen a lot of changes in our time there, principally in the priests who’ve come and gone and left their imprints for better or worse. For a long time, the community was fairly stable even through some pretty significant external shifts, so stable that I could tell you from my perspective on the altar, where so many families regularly sat, week after week. My kids in the front left, Beth and Dan, Lori and Chris, Deb and Ron, Lisa, Christine, Brendan, Sheila and John – and then on the right-hand side there’s Cathy and Jim, Joanne and Bill, Anne and Tim, Jeanne and Joe, Susie, Rob, Jill, Dennis, Michael and Linda. And along with them and so many others, we raised our kids together in that little chapel. So many Christmas Eves and Easter dresses and regular Sunday morning memories, during mass and after. Extra-long hugs during the sign of peace, coffee and doughnuts while the kids raced around outside and climbed a tree which in recent years sadly has become diseased and then cut down. Hmm. Well, the place feels so different now. We’re different.
As for us, we sing in that chapel about half the Sundays that we used to. We made that change for lots of reasons, and when I am there, as I look out now at a very small handful of ‘regulars’ but mostly at faces that I do not know in this community which used to be so tight-knit, I do sometimes wonder where everyone has gone. They have their reasons, and they are good ones, too, I know that for sure, but from time to time, I do wonder where they are, and whether these wonderful friends have found a faith life that is working for them. Gosh, I hope so. And the rising up of that big question makes me want to consider and discern where I’m at, too. When it comes to my faith life, where am I?
In the Book of Genesis, we find Adam and Eve who are hiding from God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. God calls out to them, “Where are you?”, which if you think of it, is kind of a silly question, right? God knows everything, after all, so he certainly knew where Eve and Adam were in the garden. The scene reminds me of a game of peekaboo or hide and seek with a baby or preschooler, where the grown-up pretends that they can’t see their little one even though it is perfectly obvious where they are.
I believe God asked the question so that Adam and Eve would have the opportunity to express the truth, first to themselves and then to him. When we are fearful and hiding, we can focus so much on our emotions that we can run from the truth of what is actually taking place. For those of us who are in a wilderness of sorts when it comes to our faith – a season of deconstruction or wandering, maybe today is a good time to ask ourselves, “Where am I?”
And, no, I’m not referring to geography or to a parish affiliation or to membership in any group, but rather, how am I engaging with my faith today? What am I learning? How is my prayer or study life going? Have I considered trying a faith community of some kind, either online or in person? What does the living out of my faith look like these days? What do I believe? Where am I?
For so many, the hard decision to leave a parish or community that they’d been a part of for many years sent them into a kind of wilderness, whether they knew that at the time or not. Sadly, most who leave Catholic parishes, especially around here, receive no follow-up, no phone call, no concern whatsoever from their church leadership, and that lack of care only adds insult to injury, more burden to carry on their wilderness road. And that reality, paired with the many emotions associated with a faith deconstruction journey can make it easier, or at least more natural to hide from the question: Where am I?
But I guess today in this short episode, I’d just like to encourage us toward beginning to answer that question, not for the benefit of a church organization or because it’s the business of a church leader or anyone else for that matter, but I’d encourage us to take stock and prayerfully answer that question for ourselves. Because, friend, if we know where we are on this journey of faith, maybe we can have a better indication about where we’re going. And that’s something I want for you and for me today, friend. Let’s hold the hand of God who has never lost sight of us no matter of how well we think we’re hiding and explore that question together in love.
Thanks so much for listening today, friend. If you need me, you can find me on Instagram @kerrycampbellwrites or on my blog at mylittleepiphanies.com. Thanks so much for rating, reviewing, subscribing and most importantly, sharing this podcast with a friend. That really makes a difference in growing our community, so thanks. If you’d like to support this podcast financially, there’s a way for you to do that in the show notes, along with lots of resources related to today’s episode, so do check all of that out, but before we go, let’s pray together.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
God, you know exactly where we are in every way, but you give us the dignity of exploring that question for ourselves. Thank you for helping us discern as the beloved children we are, where we are, so we will begin to know where to step next. Thank you, God, that we are never ever walking alone.
We pray in the name of Jesus, amen.
Thanks so much for listening, friend, and I’ll see you next time.
This week, we’re taking stock of where we are on our faith journey today. As we walk with God in the wilderness of deconstruction, prayerfully discerning where we actually are will enable us to know what step to take next, and to have clarity around where we want to be.
Song: Who Am I?, by Casting Crowns
Song: Sing Over Your Children, by Matt Maher
Song: Drawn to You, by Audrey Assad
Song: The Way God Sees, by Ginny Owens feat. Mike Weaver
How am I engaging with my faith today?
What am I learning?
How is my prayer or study life going?
Have I considered trying a faith community of some kind, either online or in person?
What does the living out of my faith look like these days?
What do I believe?
Where am I?