Converting to Catholicism

Thursday, August 8, 2019


A trip to Mexico City to Our Lady Guadalupe in April 2018

Oh my Lord, help me, guide me, why am I such a mess hahaha?

Has been a quick prayer to God in the last 7 mos of my life. I knew early on of dating Aaron, that at some point we would need to talk about our same views of God and faith, but different ways in which we practice, what I refer to as religion.

Aaron is Catholic and I am Christian, and although in the way I was raised, I was taught we are both Christian, but Aaron belongs to a denomination of Christianity. He was taught that Catholicism is its own religion.

But this isn't the place to debate that.

We already have so many beautiful, but definitely differences - country of origin, language, cultural norms, flour vs corn tortillas - you know, the important stuff! The last thing we need going into marriage with the plan to have kids one day is to be different in practice of how we love God, aka our religion.

It boiled down to the fact that it was easier for me to convert to Catholicism in the sense that being a non-denominational Christian, I have more fluidity in how I practice. But Aaron does not, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I think it gives me an opportunity to grow and learn through study, practice, and connection.

I am openly sharing this because I get so many opinions, probably 3-4 messages a day and maybe a phone call a week about all the different opinions of Aaron's and my race, nationality, citizenship, age difference, and all the other things people seem to be experts in our relationship. Also, stop asking me if he is an American citizen; he is a dual citizen of the USA and Mexico, and it's none of your business. Let's not forget that I am the naturalized citizen, NOT born on this soil due to my adoption. I also get "you're so happy", "you're glowing", "you're so in love"...all of which are very true, but all of it has come like anything, with compromise, negotiating, identity forming and reforming...and everything else that goes into both an intercultural and interracial marriage.

So many people I know struggle with these, and I am so grateful they've reached out to me, I have felt less alone in this journey than the beginning.

We discussed at length of what we do agree on in terms of our different religious practices:
We pray to the same God.
We love people and believe and try as much as we can to practice the same scripture, from the same Bible.
We love our faith in God and what God has planned for our life.
We believe in the communion, baptism, and belonging.

So, becoming Catholic, will not change how much I love people. How much I value scripture/literature/devotions/journaling/praying and so forth in my roots as a non denominational Christian. It will not change the way I see the importance of Church in my life or in my future family's life.

If anything, it just enhances it. Academically and socially, I've always aligned with Jesuit values. I believe in assisting those in need, and I believe Jesus would want us to take care of those around us. I believe in heaven and hell...and guess what? Becoming Catholic doesn't change my beliefs in any of that.

Will it change the type of Sunday service I experience? Yes. Will it teach me about rituals, steadiness, and more structured learning? Yes. Will it give me the opportunity to understand the history Jesus has on this earth more? Yes.

I will never understand that in a stereotypical Christian world, Catholicism isn't deemed as "real Christianity", and I do not understand in a stereotypical Catholic world, that Christians are deemed as "Not real believers of Christ".

Me, and others, and probably people you know are living proof that we are tired of this vs them. If we are all of God, our denominations serve God, and speak, teach, and practice love because of God...you think when we get to heaven, God is going to care if I stay non-denominational or Catholic? ...

I believe God is so big that God doesn't put limits on how people worship, but has given people ideas in how to organize it so people can connect to it in modern time. I have found God in a multitude of ways, and it never had a denomination of Christianity tied to it.

Whether it was in college attending mass with a best friend and she would come to Sunday service with me later or post college and I'd attend another mass with another best friend and she would come to church with me later...it was just proof that our Sunday services and day to day practices are different - but our hearts, intent, and love for our Lord was the same.

I am so excited to start my journey here soon. Love may be a motivator for why I am converting, but anyone that truly knows me, my free spirit, and my extreme hard headedness, I don't do anything I don't want to do. No one is forcing me to do anything.

I am choosing to learn. I am choosing to be open for what God has for me. I am choosing to stay true to my values while understanding that a marriage is more than just my free spirit and liberty.

What an honor to live in a country where I can pursue a religion, the freedom to marry someone of a different race and culture, and freedom to marry for love and not for convenience or security.

Cathedral of Aguascalientes - Where we hope to get married!



This is not a phase

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oakland's First Fridays Unity Wall
Note: This is not my view on the Church I attend, my Pastor, or the select people I've connected with on a real level. This is solely part of my journey of Christ, church, and my sense of belonging...and this post has been sitting in my inbox for almost 2 years.

10 years ago I sat in my parents living room and told them that I would respect their wishes to attend church until I was 18, then I wanted to seek my own relationship with God and explore my spiritual life.

You must know, as a Midwesterner who grew up in the Heartland, where there are more or equal amounts of churches than bars, this was not a popular sentiment.

But, I have always been a searcher...and searchers question, seek, and find. Which is exactly what I wanted to do with my faith in Christ.

Let me start off by saying, to me, God = very real to me. But this is about my struggles with how I experience and understand God and how others respond to my struggles within my spiritual life.

Organized religion, although important for so many of my loved ones who love Jesus, has always been difficult for me.

For me, I experience Christ in the small moments. While brushing my teeth saying my prayers for all the people I love. Or when I am driving in the car with a friend listening to music. Or in deep conversation about purpose, identity, and real life ish - that is when I feel closest to God.

And this is okay. This is what is so rich in my relationship with the Lord. This is what makes my spirit bright, my heart full, and my soul feel alive. But it took me a long time to get there...

Growing up I was the only public school kid while all the other kids went to the Christian church at our church. I was told that I'd likely be in prison as an adult because that is how public school kids ended up. As angry as I get from these hurtful moments, I know that God serves justice best.

In college, I was too liberal to belong to conservative church America. Apparently my belief that the church should love people in the Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ+) community was too much for people to handle. I was vocal anyway, even though that value was also not popular...

And now? In adulthood, my thoughts are so different that it scares other Christians. Even though doubts, questions, and thinking shouldn't scare people...because my doubts don't invalidate someone else's belief in Christ...But unfortunately that has been my repeated experience.

Then, when I moved to California whether it be Southern, Central, or Northern, I wasn't hipster enough or I definitely didn't make enough money or have the right career to fall into the churches where I believed in their vision, their pastor, and a select group of people within those communities...but was considered not in the "cool" circle at church...

And honestly, it baffles me that in all my niches, I've always felt like I belonged to all my niches, but church?

I've never felt more like an outsider, an impostor.

And when history has a problem with repeating itself in my experiences, to me, church is a place that rewards those who fit in, even the churches that are considered not the social norm in the church world.

And if you know me, social norms aren't my thing. Endorsing systems that reward people for fitting the mold are also not my thing. If it was, I'd have a very different life.

I am not walking away from God, church, or from those who attend it, although many have walked away from me when I start to question organized religion.

And truthfully, I am accepting that is okay. Most of my friends who are Christian I never met in church anyway...

And no, this is not the case where I think there is something wrong with any church I go to, I am attending a great church and I've been to many solid churches. But I also can't deny my challenges to feel like I belong to any or one.


I am a searcher and I am a norm breaker.

This is not a phase. A decade is a long time to be in a phase.

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