The Spectrum Between White and Black 

I am not certain how to hook you into reading this post, but I always found such things as a “hook” to be arbitrary in the grand scheme of things. In an intellectual book, I care not if the book has a good introduction only that the substance is profound and enlightening. Thus, since I can not come up with a good introduction on whim, I will put it to you plainly. Additionally, In any case, such a situation might be blessing as I believe the “hooks” I come up with to be cheesy. 

Well to be plain, I am in, and have been in, circumstances that have changed me and matured me, much like everyone else has had such experiences. Though currently, I have come to realization that sin and virtues are at times over simplified into simple categories of white and black, especially so, from what I have seen of Protestantism.  I can remember being a teenager and watching hour long sermon after hour long sermon. This activity was what I did for fun back then as I was attending a community college near where I lived. As such, most people at the community college were way older than me and there wasn’t much social bonds or activities to be found. Thus, being the weird 18 or 19 year old I was, I took to watching sermons and trying to answer my own questions about my religion. 

Distictly, I can remember the harsh sound of a preacher who criticized people for being what he called “people pleasers.” From the impression I got, and what I recall, he seemed to think it was a simple choice. He seem to portray it as a simple realization of standing up for yourself. These simplifications, from what I can remember, are very common. Another example, we say jealousy is bad and that we should not be jealous. There are much more examples I can give, but for the sake of brevity I shall stick to these two and clarify how sins should not entirely be looked at in simple terms. 

To clarify my first example, the problem with what the preacher called “people pleasing” is that it seemed to have a personal a opinion and bias to it. However, let’s say such a notion was clearly stated in the Bible to be wrong. The problem with the way he simply puts it, as a change that can happen that night and it’s easy, presents this idea of it not being a more deeper seated issue. Additionally, much like everything else people pleasing is not an entirely bad habit, unless you compromise your own values. I would say, a child should want to please his parents. That is not a desire that is wrong. You should want to please your supervisor at work and do a good job. This, again, is not a bad quality, unless you compromise your own beliefs and values. You should also want to please your wife or your husband. Additionally, should you not want to make a friend happy and make thier day? No, such is a good thing. However, this only explains half of my arguement. What the preacher also did not include was the psychology behind personalty types. The fact is some personalty types get joy from pleasing other. Again, such a thing is not necessarily bad until it is out of balance. Additionally, let’s say one does compromise thier values in a certain situation because they are pressured, guilted, or manipulated into it. In the strict black and white sense, this circumstance, in Protestant theology and opinion, means nothing to how guilty a person is to commiting a sin. The problem with this simple classification is the lack of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding in it’s overall message. It lacks the compassion to see that abuse may have shaped a person into being a people pleaser. And, more importantly, it lacks the sight to see that there will be a struggle because it could be related to trauma. It is not a simple switch with being flipped off because of some enlightening moment, but it is a process. This, from what I can remember, was not mention, and in good will, may have been an oversight. The problem I am addressing is not the preacher, but the black and white categories that sins, and more importantly emotions, are put into.

Not to beat a dead horse, however, I feel I can gain more understanding by discussing the problem with Jealousy. Typically, jealousy is always defined as evil, and yet we, when I was a Methodist, never talk about how God being jelous for his people when they made idols to worship is a good thing. Jealousy in the right context is good. If another man is kissing your wife then you should be jealous. It is the samething as what God felt when his people, who made a covenant with him, started worshiping idols. As you can see, jealousy is wrong when it is not in the right context. However, to expand one’s view beyound that, jealousy is wrong in certain circumstances, but there may be an unmet need associated with jealousy. Jealousy can be a result of more complicated problems that will take time to heal. This, in particular, I am coming to understand myself. Jealousy is not an evil thing  in the sense that everyone chooses to do it like one would with murder. Its a more complicated matter, and there should be compassion for it as well. Yet when we define sins into broad categories and don’t explore the situations, we pigeon whole something and never treat the root cause or figure out how to heal. Even worse, we define it wholly as a sin and do not see that in certain contexts it is not a sin.

To conclude, this rather more lengthy then intended post, things should be meditated on and be understood in a less black and white mindset. It leaves out key information and realistic ways to overcome sin in one’s life. In my opinion, this black and white simplification is at it’s worst when sins are thought to be all equal in value. I can remember as a child telling myself that my little white lie was the same thing as murder. This is unrealistic, and not to mention unbiblical. Additionally, from the perspective of black and white there is less compassion and no regard for circumstances. More importantly, it can be unrealistic. 



The Perspicacity of Giving

Hello my readers,

It’s been a long while since I posted on my blog. I apologize for that, but I have a good reason for being inactive. Back in October, October 2015, my antidepressant medication had stopped working. From what I have gathered, it is common for this to happen. Thus, I have lost interest in many things. I have lost interest in video games, reading theology as a hobby, crafting, and other things. At times, I can’t even seem to enjoy the idea of going out with friends to a fair. My doctor and I are currently working on trying to find new medication that will help me function again as I should. It takes more than six weeks to know if a medication is working for me or not. It is a tedious process of trial and error and me feeling like a dart board. The different medications are the darts in this case.

One thing I noticed today and is compounded by something I read is, giving is very hard when I am struggling with depression. The last few weeks I have been so wrapped up in my own pain and anguish that I find it hard to give back to others. On my good days, when I have clarity of thought, I can look outside myself and give to others. I love those days. And I love giving to others, so I am very much struck by my observation that it is hard for me to give when I am suffering a lot. Recently, I wrote my Godparents a letter and mailed it to their house. It took me a few days to write it after I had the idea of writing them a nice letter. Rationally, I waited for a day when my mood was not bad as I noticed that my mood tends to bleed through in my writing. (Thank you, texting! things you realize from being a person who loves texting!) Thus, in a certain way, I already understood that in order to give someone has to be in the right state to be able to give. Though, I had not made the connection itself with giving.

The nature of giving is one that is made out of surplus. If there is no surplus than the giving could be seen as sacrificing. They are two different things. I understand, though I don’t like it, I am not in a very good position to give to others. A person who has no money cannot give money to someone else. Thus, when I have no comfort within myself I can’t really give to others. Thankfully, unlike money, what I give can be considered something that is renewable since on the good days I can give to others. Whereas, with the example of someone having no money they have to save up when they get money so they can give to others. However, as I write this, I realize that it is only recently that I have felt like it has been hard to give to others. There are days that are so bad for me that there is no possible way that I can look beyond my own suffering and help someone else. On the bright side, there are days where I am not doing so well, but I can give to others and do something to show them how much I care.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” I see now that there is a time for me to give to others, and a time when I cannot give to others. Thus, I am coming to understand that at times in my depression there are days when it is not the time to give. There are people out there that consider people with depression to be just self-absorbed and self-centered. In a certain way, they are correct, but they use the wrong words. They use words that say that a depressive has a surplus; when a depressive probably doesn’t even have scraps. Granted, these individuals tend to be people who fall away from the mainstream idea that depression is a biological illness, so they don’t see it as a depressive having nothing. They see it as being greedy. This is wrong. However, my focus is on the idea that there is this aspect of perspicacity to the action of giving. Perspicacity, when you type it into google, means “the quality of having a ready insight into things; shrewdness.” I realize that there is a sense of perspicacity in giving. There are times when it is not the time to give, and there are times when it is the time to give.

The perspicacity of giving, also, deals with the understanding of when a person can help someone and when they will only make things worse. Have you ever been in a situation where someone wants to help you, but they only make it worse? I’m sure all of us have some sort of experience with that. I definitely have experiences like that. Ha ha ha, now, since usually it has to do with my depression, I educate people before if they want to help me. I give them articles on what is helpful to say and what makes things worse. (That’s supposed to be funny.) Anyway, there is a certain aspect to the act of giving, when one has to see if they are really suited to helping this person. I can’t tell you how many times good people with good intentions have given me bad advice about my health. There is a time when one needs to discern when they should give and support another person because it suits their abilities and when they should not. Or perhaps, people need to educate themselves before they try to give support to another person. Perhaps, it’s the time to educate yourself and then it’s the time for giving. These things all fall under the perspicacity of giving because one has to know when it is the time for giving.

Anyway, this is something that my trial has recently taught me and I thought I would share this insight that I am gaining with you. This is in no way a complete analyzation in the perspicacity of giving. This is only the beginning of the flourishing of what God is teaching me as reflect upon myself and the events in my life. I hope you, at least, found this to be a little bit insightful about the act of giving.

Fight Song

I’m back at Saint Leo University this semester. I actually graduate this semester. And even though it’s only the second week of school, I feel like this is going to be a great semester. I have so much motivation about my school work and I’m also not procrastinating on assignments. I feel like I have a great handle on my workload this semester. If you are familiar with major depression then you would understand that the fact I have all this motivation to do things is a really great sign about my health.

So I’m pretty sure all of you have heard the song Fight Song by Rachel Platten? If not, here is a link.

Well, I wanted to talk about how empowering this song is for me. This song probably means way more to me than the average person. It makes me feel so empowered. And I relate to it on probably a different level than the average person. The lyrics are great and can be used for any struggle. It reminds me of my own personal struggle with depression. It reminds me to always keep fighting. To keep fighting with determination, as if there was no temptation to say “I can’t.” It is a song that reminds me how strong I am and how I can do anything. Heck, I overcome depression at age 21. If I can overcome severe depression then I don’t think there is anything that can stop me! The world better watch out!

However, on a more reflective note, I am realizing that I don’t think I will EVER forget what this recent episode of major depression was like. I think my grapple with the darkness known as depression will forever be ingrained in my mind. To be honest, I am not sure how someone can forget about such an experience and just move on like nothing happened. I know I can’t. I can’t just sit and do nothing now that I am able to speak out. It’s just not possible for me. My mission is to scream out in defiance to stigma, ignorance, and religious opposition to mental illness. You could say this is “my fight song.” Though, my fight song is also one of perseverance and not giving up. To keep combating the darkness with what little light you may have. You may just have a little cigarette lighter, but let that light shine and don’t let it go out. No matter how weary you get, and there are people out there willing to help you keep your flame lit.

Can you hear me? I got so much fight in me and I won’t sit ideally by in silence. If someone thinks they have depression I will be the first to talk to them and advise them to go to counselling. And I won’t stay silent when things could be said to change people’s misguided perception of mental illness.  In general, the topic of mental illness makes people uncomfortable, but I don’t care. I will speak out about it. And let’s say if a third episode of depression comes upon me (this is very likely to happen one day), I will fight with all my heart against it.

It may be a little arrogant of me to think, but I feel like my battle with depression shows how strong I really am. It shows I’m a true fighter because I have been through a lot more than people my age have.

I encourage anyone reading this, whether you have experience or not, to speak out about mental illness! And also take a really long hard look at how you look at people who are a little different than you. They need your support and if you think you have some sort of mental illness don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to sign up for counseling. Counseling is more normal than you think.



Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

“The second is this ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31

I find this to be a hard commandment for everyone. There are two reasons for this. But one is a reason you might not think of. You probably have the verse above memorized, but I want to read it closely and think about what is being said. Look closely at the first sentence in that verse. Do you see it, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”

The context of the verse makes it grow in the underlying implication. To summarize the context of the verse, a teacher of the law approaches Jesus and tries to give him a trick question. The teacher asks, “Of all the commandments which is the most important?” In short, Jesus states, “The most important one, the Lord is one, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And he states, “The second is Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”[1]

When Jesus says that, He really is summarizing all of the commandments into two. All of the commandments involve the love of God, other people, and yourself. He just boils it done to its most simple premise. However, I want to notice how He says “there is no greater commandment greater than these.” And take note of that statement. Keep it in mind.

When I think about the phrasing and how Jesus puts Mark 12:31 and the other gospel variances, it becomes a very interesting verse. Jesus could have put the verse of loving your neighbor a different way. However, He specifically says “love your neighbor as yourself.” When you really think about it, this is such a powerful verse. He inserts another party into the equation. It’s not just God and your neighbor. He inserts self-love. He puts the person into the equation. God wants us to love ourselves and it is part of the greatest commandment. He intentionally says that we need to love ourselves.

Christians are not to be about self-hate because God calls us to love ourselves. That means forgiving ourselves and being patient with ourselves. It means having no false humility. By false humility I mean, thinking things that aren’t true about yourself. Thinking lower of yourself than everyone else. Even though you love your neighbor, you are not fulfilling the greatest commandment because you don’t love yourself.

The other take for this verse would be “since I don’t love myself then I don’t have to love my neighbor.” This is wrong and would not fulfill the commandment either. I know this because if we work out the verse backward with everything the bible says about treating others, then we come back to good treatment of others and therefore ourselves. God doesn’t give much instruction on self- love it seems, but the greatest commandment is “love your neighbor as yourself.” And through that verse he gives us a hint that if we struggle with loving ourselves the measure is to love ourselves like we were our neighbor. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. And it works in reverse.

Do you see now why this little verse is so powerful? It expresses God’s will that if we struggle with loving ourselves that we are to love ourselves like how we love other people.

I will be the first to admit I have this struggle. I’m always harder on myself than other people. I can be downright cruel to myself. I remember sometimes I would make running a punishment for a mistake I made. I remember a few times, I desired to run myself into the ground. To run until I collapsed from exhaustion. And I would punish myself in other ways. However the truth is, God wants me and you to love ourselves and forgive ourselves. He makes it one of the greatest commandments and that itself says a lot.

One method I found that helps in treating myself how I would my neighbor is to picture a friend of mine in the same circumstances and making the same mistakes. And if I would forgive them than what makes me any different in deserving my own forgiveness. My therapist told me in a recent session, to do that when I remember the stupid and insecure things I did when going through the depths of my most recent episode of major depression.

Looking back, I have a lot of regrets and hate some of the things I did. However, if it was any other person I would understand that they were sick and readily forgive them. I would understand that it wasn’t entirely their fault and understand that they weren’t themselves. And that’s the way I have to look at myself when I think about how I pushed others away and how I was also clingy. And also for when I craved comfort to soothe my pain. I need to put someone else in my shoes to understand that it’s okay that I made mistakes.

The struggle of treating myself how I treat others is something I am trying to work on. And most of all, I hope this helped you to try to love yourself more too. Remember God loves you so much, and he wants you to love yourself too.

Until next time,


[1] Mark 12: 28-31


Sorry, it has taken me so long to make another post. I said I would write a series of posts on my perspective as a Catholic convert. I apologize for taking so long. I have not been quite inspired to write. I’m sure this will change though once I’m back at Saint Leo and can attend mass regularly and have fellowship.


This word should spark something in every Christian. A few words or images may come to mind like forgiveness or maybe dread. You may picture a dark place full of shame. Or you may picture a scary place. However, when you come to understand what confession is, it’s nothing like that. Confession is about forgiveness and not being judged. It is where you can hear words “you are forgiven.” Confession is a sacrament I love and it might even rival my love for the Eucharist. (Eucharist is the transubstantiation of the body and blood of Christ into the bread and wine in communion.)

Generally, this sacrament is controversial in Christianity. Though, the purpose of this post is not to provide evidence to convince someone that confession is instituted by Jesus, but to discuss what confession is to me. I ask that anyone who wants to debate the biblical truth of confession with me please refrain from doing so.  For those who do not know catholic teaching, and to avoid anyone who wants to be a troll, confession does not mean that God is so limited that he cannot forgive sins directly. He can, there is no argument about that. It matters on the motive. It has to be out of love for God and grief over hurting and offending a Lord who is goodness himself. It cannot be out of fear or terror for your salvation.

Back to the purely spiritual side of the faith, and the intended topic, confession is very different for me than compared to some cradle Catholics. That’s not to say I don’t get nervous before confession, but I don’t dread it. Confession is still quite tricky for me still. I’m new Catholic and I was accepted into the church this year the 2nd Sunday of Easter. I am in no way a baby Christian though, and should not be mistaken for one. I am just new in the catholic faith. Therefore, I’m still getting use to how confession works and what is considered a good confession and what is a bad confession. I have actually only been to confession three times, but I would love to go every week; my circumstances prevent me from doing so though.

Beyond my personal circumstances and experiences, Confession is a great gift. I love how in confession I can hear a verbal expression of my sins being forgiven. However, it should not be understood that you need a man to forgive you. God is the one who forgives and knows your intention in the confessional. The priest in the sacrament of confession represents the Church and Jesus. The love of hearing absolution stems from when I was a child. As a child, it was hard for me to ask for forgiveness and not really know if God forgave me. I was left wondering if I was forgiven because I kept doing bad things over and over. Things like disobeying my parents and arguing with my brother. Some were intentional, as in “its fine if I do this over and over again because God forgives me.” This is a common faulty notion among people and can be found in every denomination. It didn’t seem right within myself that someone should forgive another who is just abusing forgiveness to do the bad act again. The Lord’s Prayer says “forgive our trespasses as those who have trespassed against us.” Therefore, I had this sense that just asking for forgiveness wasn’t something that could guarantee that God forgave you. This sense had some truth to it. Forgiveness depends on your intention and if you are repentant.

Another crucial aspect of confession is the examination of one’s self. With the sacrament of confession, I am more aware of my failings and my need for grace. We see ourselves as we really are. We get to know ourselves very well.  This is beneficial to us in that we actually see who we are and not what we think we are.  To clarify my point, there is this notion that the way we see ourselves is not how we actually are. We see ourselves better than we are. Conversely, other people are a better gauge at who we really are because they don’t have our biases, nor are they in our head. One way to see ourselves is by the others, but we can do that also by examining ourselves and not fooling ourselves to feel good. This helps us grow as people and not to settle for who we are now.

This aspect is important to me because I can see where my faults are and have better understanding of being humble. This humility is also facilitated in confession by the fact you stare your sins in the face and have to own up to them. You speak aloud your faults and fully acknowledge that you had done wrong to the priest. You acknowledge that you are not as good as you should be and acknowledge that another person. This can be uncomfortable, but it teaches you to see yourself with reality and not have a distorted perception of yourself.

In addition, when speaking out loud your sins to a priest, you come to see how patient and kind Jesus is. You can see how forgiving He is. The priest is supposed to emulate Christ and his love. In my confessions, the priests were undeterred by my sins and were kind. They respected me and did not look down on me in any way. Not to mention, some of the priests I saw for confession acted like my sins I had confessed was not the bane of all evil. Their view of me didn’t seem to change. They saw it as the past and left it there. lack of negative reaction or even having slight negative expressions on their faces has lead me closer to understanding how to forgive like Jesus. There were no judgments except that I was trying to follow God as best I could. And nothing will be or would be held over my head against me. In little a way, I think priests have helped facilitate my views on not listening to what I hear about someone’s past because it is in the past. They could have changed and realized their mistake. Though, I am not perfect at this yet and I’m leery about doing such in certain situations, it has helped me see that past mistakes are just that. In the past.

The sacrament of Confession has offered way more to me than with only praying for forgiveness to God. It has let me see past the darkness and cast me into the light. I can see my need for God and see my true self with all its faults. I have clarity in understanding myself and judging myself. I see humility as what it is. I also see the crime of deluding myself in thinking some questionable choices I made were right. I see my need for forgiveness since confession requires awareness of one’s self and your sins. Confession is a great gift. The greatest part about it though is the slate is washed clean. The sins are gone. Forgiveness, love, and grace has washed them away. And if grave sin was committed, God warmly embraces you back into communion with him.

Why Catholic? My Story on Why I Became a Catholic.

I decided to be Catholic based on theological reasons and based on things I found in the bible. I don’t believe in choosing a denomination based on how you feel. I feel like it should be grounded in reason. Choosing on how you feel is typically how people choose a church it seems, at least it is nowadays.

To start off my story, I wanted to be a preacher. With that desire, I knew it came with great responsibility. The bible warns about being a false teacher and I was worried that I could be one. It was my responsibility that if I was to be teaching I needed to figure out which denomination I thought had the truth and believed in my heart to be what Jesus meant. This was really instilled in me when one of my friends mentioned how he didn’t think every church was right, that there had to be one that held the whole truth. He also believed that salvation may be contingent on that too.

While I was 18, I started following some outspoken fundamentalists on twitter. They would criticize well-known preachers that showed on television. I remember there was this one tweet that said something like “false teachers don’t know they are false teachers.” This struck me as something I had never thought of and opened the possibility to me that I could become a false teacher and not know it.

Originally when I read the passages in the bible about false teaching, there was this inherent idea that the teachers knew they were false and were doing something they knew to be wrong. This concept I held unconsciously was revealed to me with that tweet and passages I increasingly read about false teaching gave me this urgency to find what I believed to be the truth. My friend’s idea of how one church has to have the full truth struck me and made me realize correct theology is very important in teaching to others. It shapes your beliefs about Jesus and salvation.

I had the fear of my own salvation when I realized that correct theology could be linked to salvation and also this urgency to be able to lead others towards that truth if that was the case.

Now, that I’m older and more familiar with theology, I realize that idea of fearing for my salvation wasn’t necessarily correct. Christians are not gnostic. This means we do not believe salvation is contingent on special knowledge. Though truth to a certain extent is needed, but enlightenment of something or an awakening, ike gnostics believed, is not needed for attaining salvation.

My search began the summer of 2013. I poured over scripture for months. I spent hours and hours invested into this search. I would wake up each day and read my bible. I learned the gist of various theologies through the internet and tried to compare them to what I found in the bible.

Catholic was 2nd on my list of theologies I really did not like and hoped wouldn’t be found. The 1st on my list of hoping for it being unbiblical was Calvinism.

Scripture started to look catholic to me in my search for biblical truth. What threw me over the edge of affirming the Catholic faith was the most biblical was when I disproved Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura is the doctrine of the bible alone. It was made by Martin Luther when he separated from the Catholic Church and formed the Lutheran church. With Sola Scriptura being proven unbiblical, that’s when my eyes were opened and could not ignore what I had just seen.

Now you are probably wanting to know the verses I found that disprove a doctrine held by pretty much every protestant church. Don’t worry, I plan on giving you the list of what I found disproving this doctrine and I’ll talk a little about the verses.

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:15 NIV

Another Translation of this verse says:

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. – 2nd Thessalonians 2:15 ESV

This verse implies that not all the teachings are written down and concedes that the bible does not contain the teaching of Jesus passed down by the apostles. A lot of translations use the word “traditions” just like the English Standard Version does. Protestant churches believe in the bible one, but the Catholic Church believes in Tradition and Scripture. It acknowledges that there traditions or teachings that are not in the bible, but were passed down by word of mouth. The very fact the bible doesn’t contain all of the apostles’ teaching really hit home for me and was the big breakthrough for me in turning to Catholicism. The doctrine I had known and practiced all my life was in fact not biblical.

I found other verses besides this one pointing to the same fact that Sola Scriptura was false teaching. The one in 2nd Thessalonians was the just the major one for me.

Here are the other verses I found proving Sola Scriptura unbiblical:

“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” – 2 John 1:12 NIV

“I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink.  I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” – 3rd John 1:13 – 14 NIV

These verses were addressed to an elder of the church and the letters mention guidance on spiritual life. Therefore, the letters held teaching and since John had a lot to say I think he had a lot more to teach him. This also shows that not all of the teachings are in the bible.

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” – Jude 1:9

The story that the book of Jude tells is nowhere found in Exodus. This story could have been an oral tradition, but it affirms that not everything was in the Old Testament too.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” – John 21:25

This verse comes from the Gospel of John and clearly states that not everything was written down.

These verses proved to me that Sola Scriptura was unbiblical.

I also found other verses that alluded to the catholic faith besides these. There are verses in the New Testament talking about the sacrament of confession.

“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” – John 20:21–23 

Jesus is talking to the disciples in this verse. He is clearly indicating the sacrament of confession here with the authority given to tell someone their sins are forgiven.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1st peter 4:8

Why would love cover sins if we could just pray for forgiveness for our sins?

I also found the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:14

In my faith that I grew up in I had never heard of this being done, but the Catholic Church has this as one of their sacraments.

I also found a reference to purgatory on my search for biblical truth too.

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” – 1st Corinthians 3:11-15 

Notice how the person is put through a fire and in other passages fire is associated with refinement. Also, take note that even though the person was not perfect, nor was his faith, he went through the fire and still attained salvation. This seems to suggest that there some type of thing like purgatory. This not hell because salvation is attained.

Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny – Matthew 5:25-26

This verse also seems to reference a certain purgatory for our actions and how we are punished, but the are released from the refinement we are going through. There is still this aspect that seems to be that we are punished for bad deeds by being thrown in prison. There is this option of getting out, but only if you have paid back everything you owed. Therefore, you are not meant to be in that prison forever. Thus, it cannot be considered hell or an earthly prison. The judge in the passage can be seen to be God. This passage is presented on the Sermon on the Mount and probably is not referring to an earthly prison.

These were some of the verses I found on my journey I took at nineteen. There are many verses I know now that also points to Catholic ideas, but I wanted to give you the evidence I had stumbled upon that let me know the Catholic faith was the one that held the truth.  The full truth. By the way, as a side note, one of the purgatory verses may not be one I found during that time. I don’t quite remember, but nonetheless, it points to the idea of purgatory.

The Inquisitive Child

Greetings my followers and anonymous readers!

I have decided to write a series of posts on the great things about Catholicism, from my point of view as a convert. I use the word “convert” simply because it is commonly used and people understand better than the phrase I prefer to use. I prefer the phrase “changed denominations.” For convenience, though, I just say “convert” since it is the common vernacular.

If you are just catching up, and I’m not entirely sure if I have mentioned this before; I was confirmed as a full-fledged Catholic this year. As I mentioned in the earlier paragraph, I am what is called a “convert” to Catholicism.  I grew up a protestant. More specifically, United Methodist.

To start off my series, I’m going to give you a rundown on my faith Journey. The next installment will include my story on my conversion to Catholicism. Much of this up until high school has to deal with my experiences at Vacation Bible schools.

I was like most kids, but I had a lot of doubts as a child with my faith because things didn’t add up. I had questions and I would get an answer in a weird tone. In addition, the answers were usually rather dumb and didn’t satisfy my question. I remember, at the age of ten or so years of age, being told the story about Thomas. They would say “don’t be like Thomas” and at the time I related most to Thomas. I also related to Martha, and this bothered me. They were both used as negative examples on what not to be.

What I learned as a child was that asking hard questions was considered taboo. To me, the atmosphere I got was that you aren’t supposed to ask questions or if you did you are looked at as someone who did not have enough faith. There was this certain shame to it. It seemed like I was the only one who struggled with certain questions as a child and doubted my salvation.

The reason I doubted my salvation was because I had gone to many different Vacation Bible Schools over the summers as a child. I would go to different denominations because they had their VBS on different weeks of the summer. I suppose my mother did that so we had something to do. From the different denominations, I would get different theological perspectives and that confused me even more. I remember I went to a Baptist VBS and they did an altar call. I was 10 at the time, and from what I think I remember, they asked for those who were unsure of their salvation and wanted to go to heaven to stay behind in the sanctuary of the church. They spoke about the terrors of hell and I remember I was scared and was very fearful that I would end up there. I stayed behind because I thought this would be the way to finally be like the rest of the kids with the assurance of their salvation. When I did that, I received a bible and said a prayer. And I was basically told I was saved. What they said didn’t make sense to me at the time, because, I believe, I had stayed because of fear and the unanswered questions I had. There were many reasons for why I stayed and this I’m sure is not just the one.

Another thing, in those Vacation Bible Schools I went to, we would read passages for our lessons, and to me, some of the passages indicated that salvation was not guaranteed just because you have a belief in Jesus and that he died for you. Though, the teachers never touched on this and I was afraid to even bring up a notion like that. I thought the other kids would figure me out, and see that I had questions and doubts. I was afraid of what would be said or thought about me. Internally, I couldn’t let go of the fact that passages seemed to say that salvation was not a given and there was another aspect to it. As you can see, I was left with much confusion and had this notion that one should have blind faith. Eventually, I just accepted that and it put much of it to rest.

However, I still held onto the notion that we are not guaranteed salvation. I considered salvation to be something I hoped for and avoided the question because I had no answer to it. Therefore, I focused more on who God was and not on the notion of my salvation. I was a kid who was very much loved rules. The statement “rules are made to broken” sounded very idiotic to me and was just a phrase people said to justify the bad thing they were going to do.  I saw God as order. I also saw him as that rewarded good people and gave the bad people punishment. I didn’t see him as being that wanted a close relationship with me. I saw him as something distant and that I had a relationship with him, but not like a friend. He was more like and acquaintance I went to when I had things on my mind and was afraid. Someone prayed to before tests. I also saw him the person that would get back at the people who bullied me. I saw him as my vengeance. The vengeance notion is biblical, but it lacked the maturity of what being a Christian meant. This as you can see, was not a great relationship, like I have now. To put it a different way, I use to imagine him as a being that lacked patience and was a father who was strict and didn’t understand. Some people reading this may have a hard time picturing this as something I thought, but even while I had that notion I still very much had reverence for him and understood that we should try to be better people.

It was during my high school years that God really got a hold of me. And you can probably tell from my earlier posts that since then Jesus has been something I have loved to talk about. God wasn’t this strict Father to me anymore. I came to really understand what his love is and how much he loved me. I began to believe that I was probably saved, but it wasn’t important to me really. Yes, I still had that fear of hell, and I’m sure everyone does, but I saw that it is better to love God for who He is and His love for me than what he can give me.

The experience I had was God was there for me when I went through my first episode of Major depression, granted I didn’t have the official answer that it was depression. What helped me during, that time is that the idea that God love me immensely took a greater meaning and helped in my dark thoughts. At that time, I felt like everyone was pretending to be my friend and only my parents loved me. When I had a thought that God loved me immensely, it overpowered my dark thoughts of being unlovable. The fact that God loved me became something that was meaningful. It planted the idea in my head during that time that it didn’t matter about anyone else. They were not important and didn’t matter. They didn’t matter because Jesus loved me so immensely. And he was also rejected and knew how I felt.

That wasn’t all he did though, in the mornings I would have this feeling that I can’t describe. I thought it was God though. At first I was scared of this feeling, because it was unknown to me. I believe it was God letting me know he was there and giving me peace at the time. Though, at the time I mistakenly believed it was God healing me. Which is what shook my faith when I was 20 when I went through my second episode and much worse episode of depression. In retrospect, I see that time as God really doing something. I was diagnosed with depression and not a disorder that gave you weird feelings. I believe that was God showing me he was close to me and giving me peace as I went through something that wasn’t diagnosed yet.

It may seem farfetched like I’m deluding myself, but I can’t fully explain the impact this had on me. It made me yearn to dedicate my life to him. Eventually, I gave up on my previous dream of being a video game character designer/graphic artist and instead decided to pursue theology.

Be on the lookout, the next installment will be about my conversion to the Catholic faith.

My Second Shadow: Life with a Chronic Illness

In case you are new to my blog, I was diagnosed with Major Depression a year ago. It has taught me some beautiful lessons and has also taught me lessons in harsh reality. Major depression comes in episodes and looking back I can say for sure my first episode happened when I was 15 years old. Little did I know at the time, that this thing had a name or that it was based on a chemical imbalance in my brain. That period in my life use to be my deepest darkest secret, until it happened again. My second episode happened when I was 20 years old. By that time, I was a little more educated on what to do because of the psychology classes I took in college. I got a therapist when it became apparent that it had gotten bad again and it was dangerous for me. In between then and the time it got bad again, I realize I doubted it ever went away. It was more like it was always there and that it would have times when it would be worse than others. I would describe the time between 16 to 19 years old to be just this sense that there was this darkness within me and just trying to ignore it.  It was like this weariness and grimness was there, but it wasn’t like it was back when I was 15. I didn’t have that panic or have intrusive thoughts of death.

The reason I am writing about this topic again, is because I am concerned. However, one thing I learned with going through depression at 20 years old is that people tend to minimize my concerns or brush them aside. Or they even say “everyone is like that.” They fail to acknowledge my concerns have weight and that I am different from people who don’t have depression. Therefore, I find it safe to express them on my blog and know that this way of expression does not encounter those problems.

The past few days I have been sleeping too much. WAY too much. Today, I slept for 16 hours and that concerns me. Before I was officially diagnosed and was waiting to be diagnosed, depression was just a guess by a one of my therapists, I use to sleep a lot because I didn’t want to face reality. To me, depression was the worst thing I could have been thought to have. It shook my faith and my sense of what life would be like for me. The reason it shook my faith though, is a story for another time. So because of that I would try to sleep whenever I was bored or didn’t want to deal with things. Sleep was my escape from a maybe diagnosis that scared me so much.

My main concern with my sleeping habits that have been happening this summer is because sleeping those many hours is a symptom of depression. I am afraid it may not be under my control as well as it was before. This morning I woke up and it felt like it took so much energy to just sit up. It felt exhausting to even think of getting up out of bed. It is something many people do not understand. It took so much of a fight for me to get out of bed to take care of the neighbors dogs. I’m also tired all the time again. The medication I am on keeps the horrid monster at bay. However, even with medication, I can still feel it there. It isn’t as all-consuming as it was a year ago, but I can still feel it there. The way I describe it now is that it is a shadow.

The concern I have is something I have to deal with along with my therapist. In my experience, talking to others about my illness isn’t always the best, unless they see me having a breakdown.

The thing with my depression is I sometimes wonder what it would be like to not have this darkness inside of me. If this darkness is what makes me feel so different and feel unsatisfied with others and their trivial pursuits. Or that be just part of my INFJ personality. However, I know foe a fact if I didn’t have a chronic illness I would be different. I would have more achievements and more hobbies. I would probably have more things that are completed and not so many things that are a work in progress. It’s hard knowing that without an illness you could do so much better, but in the end I have to accept my reality and work with it as best I can.

19 Of The Best Quotes That Perfectly Explain What Depression Feels Like

This is a must read!! As someone who has Major Depression, I feel like this is really accurate and could help others in trying to understand what it is like to have depression if someone they know is going through it.

Thought Catalog

Ryan McGilchristRyan McGilchrist

1. “I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” – Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

2. “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be…

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Brazils $900 million World Cup stadium is now being used as a parking lot – Vox

Just Sayin'

Brazil spent about $3 billion building 12 new or heavily refurbished stadiums for last year’s World Cup. Officials promised these taxpayer-funded venues would continue to generate revenue for years, hosting concerts, pro soccer games, and other events.

But as Lourdes Garcia-Navarro at NPR reports, most stadiums are failing to generate much revenue at all. The most expensive one, in Brasilia, is most regularly used as a site for a municipal bus parking lot.

One big problem is that several of the stadiums — including Brasilia’s 72,000-seat, $900 million venue — were built in cities where there are only minor league pro teams that don’t draw large crowds. This was done so World Cup games could be spread across the entire country, instead of just the southeast, where most of the top pro teams play. It’s as if we built gleaming new stadiums in Montana and Alaska for hosting a…

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