If I were to make a soundtrack featuring all the songs that were significant to me throughout my life, they’d probably notice that there was a gap of time, around 1993-95, where the music I listened to was…interesting.
I’ve mentioned it here on the blog before, but it bears repeating again for anyone who’s just recently started reading along. Even though I’m a cradle Catholic, it wasn’t until I was around 12 or 13 years old that I recognized how deeply loved I was by God, and as a result, embraced my identity as a child of God.
For me, this realization happened in the context of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the early 1990s, when I first experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit (not to be confused with the sacrament of Baptism that typically occurs at infancy in the Catholic Church).
While I became part of the family of God when I was baptized as an infant (an objective reality), it was not until I experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a teenager that my identity as part of God’s family became a subjective reality. It all became real.
Up until now, I’ve actually hesitated to share this part of my faith journey with a lot of people that I’ve been in ministry with since moving to the east coast. I kind of grew up in a spiritual bubble in northern California, where most of my friends grew up with the same experience of church that I had. Even though I always knew that not everyone experienced church the same way we did, it never really mattered because I was surrounded by others whose experiences validated my own.
Moving to the DC metro area (over 10 years ago!) expanded my perspective of what it means to be Catholic, and many of my friends and colleagues tended to be on a different part of the theological spectrum with a different set of experiences than I had been exposed to.
My experience felt so different from everyone else’s, from colleagues and classmates that I liked and respected and held in high regard. A lot of them were Jesuit-educated or came to know Christ through their experiences with social justice work or were incredibly well-versed in Church teaching and all things Vatican II, and I was often silent about my spiritual heritage, too embarrassed to talk about how I had experienced God in my own life. I honestly felt like an alien in grad school.
It’s taken me this long to stop feeling like I needed to apologize for having ever been part of the Charismatic Renewal. And while I may not agree with everything that I was taught when I was younger (something that I’m constantly negotiating and re-negotiating), it doesn’t change the fact that I am who I am because of my experience as a Catholic Charismatic Christian.
Anyway. This blog post took a turn that I didn’t expect, but I will leave it here for now with the expectation that I’ll write the exciting conclusion to my opening paragraph in a future blog post. (Who knows, maybe it’ll be the next one 🙂