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Category Archives: Faith Reconstruction

Do Not Judge (Matthew Kelly – Rediscover Jesus)

“Judgement is one of the major obstacles that prevent us from loving others as God commands us to.”
Matthew Kelly (Rediscover Jesus, p. 76)

Fr. Leo asked each adult to take a copy of the Matthew Kelly book during Christmas Midnight Mass. His instructions were to read the book and take the opportunity to become reacquainted with Jesus.

If I understood Fr. Leo correctly the Parish will run a worship program based on the book. Just for that reason I thought I should read the book.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 16. It is titled “Do Not Judge.” This chapter topic is a major part of my faith reconstruction. I struggle with judging and although I know this is a universal struggle for all humans and I must get this under control for my salvation.

Matthew Kelly writes that we should focus “on reducing the amount of judgement” and we can expect “peace, joy, and incredible spiritual growth.”

I say YES, and…

A tool every Catholic will want to include in their toolbox is the discipline of contemplative prayer. Through contemplative prayer we can tap into non-dual thought. It is dual thinking that drives us to judgment.

If you are looking for a practical application to bring peace, joy, and incredible spiritual growth it is non-dual thought. We have all been indoctrinated into dual thinking as part of growing up. Unlearning this is not easy, but to rediscover Jesus we need to work toward increasing our non-dual thought.

When Fr. Leo mentioned the Matthew Kelly book I rolled my eyes. I had a bad judgmental attitude about the book before I even held a copy. Just like a self-fulfilling prophesy, my judgments were confirmed when I read the book.

I struggle with dual thinking, so much so, that I still wince when I read Matthew Kelly’s book. I continue to scream at what I believe are incorrect statements written by Matthew Kelly, however, all of my fuss is now contained within my head.

Well… my wife might disagree because there has been a rant, here and there, that she witnessed. I am getting better. I recognize my weaknesses and dual thinking.

I find peace through my contemplative prayer. The Holy Spirit guides me in non-dual thought. As such, I can say that Matthew Kelly’ book is what it is. It is neither good nor bad. I will take away the lessons I need to be a better Christian and the rest I will leave as they are.

I find that Matthew Kelly and I are in agreement on some important aspects of Jesus’ teaching. My judging nature was holding me back from God. No amount of confession and absolution could resolve the dual thinking specter that created a wedge between God and me.

People who struggle with dual thinking should spend some time rediscovering the teachings of Jesus. I recommend spending time in contemplative prayer. I also recommend reading Fr. Richard Rohr.

“The inner life of quiet, solitude, and contemplation is the only way to find your ground and purpose now. Go nowhere else for sustenance.”
Richard Rohr (Falling Upward, p.164)

God bless,


The Hunt For a New Parish

Dear surfers,

My wife, three daughters and I have been on a search for a new Catholic Parish. In our 30 years of marriage my wife and I have been members of three different Parishes. This is an average of one new Parish every ten years. For the next decade, hopefully more, we will belong to a new Parish. Luckily, we live in the Detroit area and there is an embarrassment of riches regarding Parishes to choose from.

The struggle with finding a new Parish revolves around our family faith development. We need to find a place that is the right fit. This will not be easy.

I have been experiencing faith deconstruction for more than a decade and the older more traditional Catholic Parishes are holding back the process of my faith reconstruction.

My wife has been traveling on a similar faith journey, but she was always more progressive than me.

My children are from the “none” generation and the old traditional Catholic piety is not something they appreciate. They specifically dislike the treatment LGBT people receive from some of the Catholic institutions and traditional Catholic priest homilies.

The new Parish must be the right fit but like any good relationship it is a two way street. Our goal is to find a Parish where we can fully participate in the community. We volunteer our time in music, worship, and education ministries. We have a fair amount of experience and a lot to offer.

The new Parish we are looking for will need to be closer to our faith experience and help us grow. In order to meet our needs the Parish will need to share many of the faith values cited in the “twelve theses” recently presented by Bishop John Shelby Spong.

The Twelve Theses

Understanding God in theistic categories as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading the world with miraculous power” is no longer believable. Most God talk in liturgy and conversation has thus become meaningless.

2.Jesus – the Christ.
If God can no longer be thought of in theistic terms, then conceiving of Jesus as “the incarnation of the theistic deity” has also become a bankrupt concept.

3.Original Sin – The Myth of the Fall
The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which we human beings have fallen into “Original Sin” is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

4.The Virgin Birth
The virgin birth understood as literal biology is impossible. Far from being a bulwark in defense of the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth actually destroys that divinity.

5.Jesus as the Worker of Miracles
In a post-Newtonian world supernatural invasions of the natural order, performed by God or an “incarnate Jesus,” are simply not viable explanations of what actually happened.

6.Atonement Theology
Atonement theology, especially in its most bizarre “substitutionary” form, presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is a victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. The phrase “Jesus died for my sins” is not just dangerous, it is absurd.

7.The Resurrection
The Easter event transformed the Christian movement, but that does not mean that it was the physical resuscitation of Jesus’ deceased body back into human history. The earliest biblical records state that “God raised him.” Into what, we need to ask. The experience of resurrection must be separated from its later mythological explanations.

8.The Ascension of Jesus
The biblical story of Jesus’ ascension assumes a three-tiered universe, which was dismissed some five hundred years ago. If Jesus’ ascension was a literal event of history, it is beyond the capacity of our 21st century minds to accept it or to believe it.

The ability to define and to separate good from evil can no longer be achieved with appeals to ancient codes like the Ten Commandments or even the Sermon on the Mount. Contemporary moral standards must be hammered out in the juxtaposition between life-affirming moral principles and external situations.

Prayer, understood as a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history, is little more than an hysterical attempt to turn the holy into the servant of the human. Most of our prayer definitions of the past are thus dependent on an understanding of God that has died.

11.Life after Death
The hope for life after death must be separated forever from behavior control. Traditional views of heaven and hell as places of reward and punishment are no longer conceivable. Christianity must, therefore, abandon its dependence on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

12.Judgment and Discrimination
Judgment is not a human responsibility. Discrimination against any human being on the basis of that which is a “given” is always evil and does not serve the Christian goal of giving “abundant life” to all. Any structure either in the secular world or in the institutional church, which diminishes the humanity of any child of God on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation must be exposed publicly and vigorously. There can be no reason in the church of tomorrow for excusing or even forgiving discriminatory practices. “Sacred Tradition” must never again provide a cover to justify discriminatory evil.

No Catholic Parish can agree to all of these theses today, but the closer we get the more opportunity there will be for my family to grow our faith. Growing our faith is the goal.

We hope your Parish helps you grow in faith, as well.

God bless,

Matthew Kelly

I want to take a minute to speak to you about faith, struggle and Matthew Kelly.

My family and I are auditioning new Parishes in the Detroit area to find one that suits our growth in faith. We discovered a Parish that we like and we are seriously giving consideration to becoming members.

During Midnight Mass this Christmas the Parish handed out a book by Matthew Kelly titled “Rediscover Jesus An Invitation.” The Priest suggested that every adult take a copy and use the book to come to know Jesus better.

I am in the midst of reconstructing my faith and I still struggle with those old dual thought deconstruction concerns of my past. I refused to take a book. We still have four copies, so I decided to consider some new non-dual thought philosophy and give the book a quick read.

My hope was that I might be able to see the book in a non-judgmental way and move past those old exclusionary thoughts I struggle with. What I realized is that I still have a lot of work to do.

I was not able to read the book without judgement. I discussed my concerns with my wife and we even went to the Matthew Kelly Website and watched him explain the book in a Youtube video. It was all of no use.

Reconstructing my faith is going to be a struggle for a long time. I am certain many of those reading this will be struggling with their faith. I encourage those folks who are in the midst of struggle to keep going in the face of adversity.

I will be praying for all of you. Have a look at the book. Try to understand that this is Matthew Kelly’s Jesus. It may not be your Jesus, but if you read it with a non-judgmental mindset it may help you to rediscover Jesus for yourself. I was not able to do this, but I will keep trying.

God bless,