Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Worker's Wages

I pinned an email I wrote to some people to the Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers site yesterday. Please have a read.

I think it might be useful to expand some of my thoughts on the matter here - although the email is not lacking in length, that's for sure.

In 1992 I graduated from high school. Shortly before that, at the Easter Vigil, I became Catholic. I was probably the youngest person who ever went through the RCIA at my parish and probably one of the youngest in the Halifax Archdiocese's history. I was 17. It's not unheard of for kids that age to go through the regular confirmation program. I was glad I did not have to go that route, since I didn't then really identify with my peers.

I spent the next few years aspiring to become a priest or a religious. I spent the next three years in a secular university, dreaming of going off to live in a little hermitage in the woods, all the while acquiring a good acquaintance with the sources of Western Thought. I still have that fantasy: days spent wandering the woods for berries, rabbits and fish, nights spent in prayer and reading. I knew I'd either go insane like that or become a saint.

Instead, I chose what I thought would be an easier, sweeter life, a view of which I have subsequently revised. Marriage and family life has been infinitely harder than I imagined. And yet infinitely sweeter too. All of you who are married know exactly what I mean.

I had the 'ingenious' idea that I would be able carry on my life of prayer and study married. This is an idiotic idea for anyone who is not wealthy. But my realization about this was made far too late, after I had painted myself into a corner with students loans, lost opportunities to learn other trades, etc., and six children who depend on me.

Thus, I had to work all through my PhD., which made it longer and more miserable than I ever thought it would be. It is miraculous that I actually finished. Not many people in my position do. I am, evidently, really smart, a good writer, and like the work. But I worked at a million unrelated jobs. I had no chance to do what other grad students do: go to a million conferences, make connections, take a million additional languages courses, do basically unpaid TA work, etc.

I was, however, very lucky to have had a chance to teach for five years at OLSWA. It was a very poorly paid position, (Anne-Marie and I kind of laugh/cried when we looked at my first pay cheque) but it was good experience to put on the CV. I sort of enjoyed the experience. I have done a little bit of teaching elsewhere before and since then.

All along, of course, I had a reason for all this. When I was twenty I thought that I would be such a good and holy intellectual/preacher that conversions would just pop out of nowhere by the bowlful. Heretics would be refuted, atheists brought to the confessional, etc. And my apostolic life would be financed by a well-paid professorship at Oxford - not to mention by the best-sellers I would write. Modest dreams for a modest guy.

Well, life hasn't quite materialized that way. And, if you want to know what I pray about most when it comes to myself - what should I do? Some people have some very strong opinions on this, and they are barely able to keep the bile from erupting when we talk about this. They cannot believe that I have no found and stuck with a safer type of employment. Others tell me what I want to hear: keep up this good work!

That a PhD can't find work seems to be more the rule than the exception now. But there is a particular shame, I believe, for the Church when this becomes the case, and yet still further shame when ecclesia and quasi-ecclesial organizations continue to promote the education of more and more young people when there is no real hope that they shall ever find gainful employment, that all they will find is mountainous debt and eventual professional disappointment.

I know theology is not about a job. But people need to eat and take care of families. The fact that the Church does little to nothing to address this injustice, but does plenty to address other injustices that are much less intrinsically related to the Church's mission is astonishing. Real attention has to be brought to this issue. This is not an insoluble problem for the Church; more than a problem, it is a great opportunity.

In a time when priestly and religious vocations are drying up, the fact that there are unemployed (orthodox) theology PhDs makes no sense whatsoever. Yes, it costs more for the Church to take care of a family than a single priest, but that does not seem to me to justify anything. I converted from Protestantism. And, as you know, they use lay-people for stuff. And not just to read at mass and run bake sales.

Things are starting to change in the Church, and this change is coming from people like my friend, Michael Dopp, who, like me, is an ex-seminarian who believes in the importance of evangelization. A few people's generosity at some particularly dark moments has really encouraged me to persevere in my work; Michael has inspired me to believe that this is not an absurd thing like few others have.

I have to confess to a funny thing. I was really thinking about throwing in the apostolic towel this week. And then, seeing myself sitting at a table with the Archbishop of Ottawa, the Papal Nuncio to Canada, the Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall and the Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces it kind of dawned on me that I was missing the obvious: God is caring for me and telling me I have a place in the mission. It's hard, though, to keep believing that this is God's will when you are surviving on your Visa, when every issue of The Catholic Review of Books puts you further and further into debt.

The fact is, I am not good at anything else. I am a thinker, a writer, a man of deep faith who sees God everywhere and who thinks about Him all the time. I am not a saint, but I am a tool, in every sense of the word. I am ready to die for the Lord and to live for Him. There are a lot of better living people out there than me. But there are few as well-educated in theology and as able to bring the Lord to the public sphere with the b**** of a brass monkey, to borrow my mother-in-law's saying.

The fact is, it's hard for me to know what His will is. I frankly don't want to live if it's not to speak/write about Him to others. For me that would constitute a betrayal of all I have been given by Him and by others, of course.

The lay evangelization thing is funny. It's about turning the Lord's message into something that sells, I'm sad to say, because if you don't have a reputation of somebody great, like Hahn, Kreeft, Simcha Fischer, Akin, etc., then you can't pay the bills. Is Catholic fame a reflection of holiness and erudition? No, hardly, as the case of Corapi proves. These things don't always go hand-in-hand. Of course, a priest doesn't have to be the smartest, holiest, or best speaker to gain an important place in evangelization. He just has to be celibate. A lay-man, though, has to sell himself if he is ever going to get a chance to sell the Lord, and the latter can't get in the way of the former, or he will lose his place. And his audience has to be able to situate him, to pigeon-hole him: is he a charismatic preacher, is he a Scripture scholar, an expert on the Theology of the Body, a chastity speaker, is she a sassy stay-at-home mommy-blogger, a Catholic Answers type, a pro-life speaker?

But what if he's something else? What if the whole point is that God wants to challenge people to think again for the first time? I don't really have a 'thing,' as an evangelist. Of the known types, I am closest to a Catholic Answers kind of guy, but I am as critical, or perhaps even more critical of the way Catholics live and think than outsiders. If I have a 'thing' it is probably the faith and reason issue, that is, challenging Catholics to accept the Church's actual teaching on this (as, for instance, spelled out by St. JP's Encyclical, Fides et Ratio) and, after accepting it, helping to cultivate Catholic culture, as an essential part of the culture of life.

Do you know any faith and reason speakers? Perhaps Kreeft fits that bill. Perhaps Pieper and Warren Carroll, I suppose, but I don't know for sure. Michael O'Brien is in his way, but not in a way that would exactly resemble my take (although decently closely).

The fact is, my whole life has been a search for the truth, the truth that transforms and takes over us entirely, that blesses us and makes us better and engages our intellects.

The fact is, for most people, truth is but an interesting that exists for them when engaged in casual conversation and perhaps as an appendage of their self-conceit that one is a sophisticated, thoughtful person, better than people who dissent from him.

But, in fact, the stakes have always been high. The stakes are salvation, on the one hand, damnation on the other. The stakes are, the Gospel of life on one hand, and the culture of death, on the other. There is never compromise, never an entente. For, one either builds a culture of creativity and life in the monasteries of Benedict or gulags and concentration camps... One either attains to the heights of the life-giving philosophy or falls into the dark pit of violence and robbery, materialism, depression, exploitation and stupefaction. These are the stakes.

When I was fifteen, I got into philosophy. It seemed to me then, the sort of agnostic that I was, that if one were to find the truth, that would be the most precious find of all... If have found it and still believe this is so. I see my life now in continuity with that. I pray and study to know the truth better, and I speak and write to share my discoveries. My original hero was, and still is Socrates. I took the good he gave me (via Plato) and it led me to Christ. In gaining Christ I lost nothing of Socrates. Christ is the answer to Socrates questions, and I still seek to understand the answer.

Because our age is one that does not care about the truth, the task of the Christian, I believe, includes the original task Socrates put upon himself, to encourage people to seek out the truth, to love it above all things. It's not only that people do not have Christ, they do not even have a desire to begin the process that leads to Christ.

Our Western Tradition is built around this ideal in a way that no other tradition is. Christ is the answer and philosophy is our method. Many Christians today believe that our Faith is not about facts but about feelings, and that is majorly impoverishing. In the secular sphere philosophy has become but logic, closed in on itself from any real service to humanity. It is certainly no longer what Socrates wanted it to be. Education has become about professional development, not human development. The extent to which Christians buy into this is the extent to which they abandon their own tradition's sense of personal development as the most important task given to the individual. Because the secular world no longer shares the Christian view of man, of course it does not share this view of education. This means, does it not, that instituting a Christian view of education is a task for evangelization, and not merely because these centres of education are places that lead to Christian answers, but because they occasion Christian (i.e. human) questions, in other words, a Christian methodology. It is not good enough that we arrive at Christian answers; our answers must be the result of a true engagement of mind and spirit. Otherwise, these are not actually life-giving, life-engaging discoveries.

It is therefore my strong belief that advancing Catholics' intellectual understanding of their Faith and of the world in God - and not merely helping them to arrive at a superficial understanding of it (which can only lead to a half-hearted kind of belief) bestows an incalculable boon on the individual and on the world as a whole. Either you believe this or you don't, and if you want to believe in harmony with the Catholic Tradition, then you must believe this. Probably you have to open your mind up to the possibility that intellectual formation in Christ is not exactly what you suppose it to be. Again, it is not just learning Christian conclusions as spelled out in the Catechism; it is knowing these things in a new light, and it is discovering things about God that you had never even suspected. It is a good that impacts all our human faculties: mind, body, soul (heart, affect). Everyone has different capabilities and desires, and truth of Christ needs to full up all of these containers. It is quintessentially philanthropic.

___________________


So, anyway, this is what I believe. What I am up to is, as you know, working on the Catholic Review of Books - and I am sure you can see how it fits into my philosophy of life by now. And, I am writing books. I need financial help to keep both of these things going. As I have said, we are in serious debt and cannot go on much longer like this. Anything you can give us (or people you know can give us!) would - God willing - helps us to stem the tide until we begin to reap the fruits of this labour - the Review becomes profitable, my books sell, and perhaps I land some more teaching gigs.

God bless you. The ball is not in my court. But I am called to be faithful in a time of testing.

24 comments:

  1. You don't know me, but I stumbled across your blog by accident a few years ago. Your subject matter caught my interest that day and I've returned to your site periodically to read what you've posted since. I've never commented on your posts before, but feel compelled to do so today because you are struggling and seem blind to the obstacles in your path. I hope you can better understand how others see you and why you may have the difficulties you're experiencing so that you can make changes and improve circumstances for your family going forward.

    Over the years I've seen the following themes reappear in your messages:
    1. You see yourself as a faithful and orthodox Catholic, you are proud of your PhD in theology, you consider yourself to be more intelligent than most people you know, and you are frustrated that other people don't value your intelligence as much as you do.

    This comes across as arrogance. While your knowledge of the faith is vast, knowledge isn't the bottom line. The Apostle John tells us that in the end, we will be judged on love. The smugness and the lack of charity and concern for others that comes across in many of your blogs contradicts your claim that you are a good Catholic. Many of our most revered saints were not formally schooled in theology - it was their charity for others and passion for saving souls that made them saints. If God gave you the gift of intelligence, He meant it for you to use to help people, build their knowledge, guide their decisions, and lift up the body of Christ, not to put others down by stating how much better of a job you could have done writing and delivering a sermon, teaching a class or by putting down others who work in fields you feel are inferior to your abilities, etc. Could I suggest that a little study and reflection on the virtue of humility would be helpful to your spiritual development?

    2. You seem to have difficulty getting along with others, you are unable to find meaningful, long-term employment and your family is suffering because of it. You wonder why you haven't had the success as a theologian that others have had. Your lack of employment has led you to beg for donations, and you appear unwilling to make any changes to help yourself out.

    Over the years you have mentioned the various jobs you've tried, including OLSWA and other educational institutions, and when they didn't work out you made snarky comments inferring that the blame lay with the other party. I suspect that your employers found you to be difficult, unbending in your attitudes, arrogant and more trouble than you're worth. Key differences between you and other more well-known theologians and apologists are humility and charity for others; you are lacking in both. If you're going to find success in employment you need to change your attitude - become humble, flexible, and open to the ideas of others when working as part of a team. And for the time-being you have to be willing to take work that is outside your realm of interest. Most of us who are parents work in jobs that pay the bills, though it's not the work we love and feel called by God to do. It's time for you to make that decision to sacrifice your own self interests and get a job that provides for your children. Your wife and children have put up with a lot. Please put their well-being ahead of your own self-interests now. If you do, you will reap more benefits than you can dream of.

    To wrap up, I acknowledge that this message is harsh, probably difficult for you to read and process, and has likely made you angry. If so, please turn that anger over to Our Lady and place yourself in her hands now. Ask her to help you, show you God's will for your life, right now, in this instance, instead of holding on to the belief that everyone around you needs to change to accommodate your wishes. I sincerely hope that you will be able to turn things around and improve the circumstances for your family.

    God bless you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Apostle John tells us that in the end, we will be judged on love." - I wonder what (someone who says stuff like this thinks) it means to love God with all of your mind? I wonder how Colin's extraordinary devotion will be (is) judged by God? I wonder how this 'harsh' (and rather thoughtless) anonymous messenger of 'love' will be judged by God? The God I hope and trust in is the way, the truth, and the life. I don't believe he is impressed or pleased by people who try to drive a wedge between truth and love. -DM

      Delete
    2. Colin is blessed to have a friend like you so ready to jump to his defense, and I've no doubt that he loves God with all his mind. Unfortunately, his posts don't convey that same sense of love and concern for his fellow man. Instead, he often comes across as judgmental and uncharitable. This tone undermines his efforts to evangelize as it makes others feel as if he thinks he is superior to them. If you look at the works of other Catholic lay evangelists/theologians who take a more humble and loving approach to evangelization while not compromising the truth, you'll see the difference in how their message is conveyed and received.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, a friend who jumps to one's defense unreflectively is no more a blessing than a foe who jumps to attack unreflectively. And in fact I did not jump to Colin's defense and if you were a more reflective and perceptive fellow, you would probably have noticed that. In fact, I offered some substantive rational criticism of your rather thoughtless, one-sided, presumptuous, and uncharitable (irony alert!) analysis. -DM

      Delete
  2. You are not the first to infer that my lack of success is due to my sinfulness. That's what Job's friends said to him too. If someone is suffering a hardship it must be because they have sinned. Also, if one is successful it must be because they are good. One of the books I am working on and hope to have out in a few months is on the history of the interpretation of Job in the Church. If I find enough financial support so I can finish it, you should read it. It seems to me that it would do you good. I think you will find that things are not always as they appear on the surface. I first realized this when I was in the seminary and pedophiles and homosexuals went on to ordination and little ol' me who was concerned with things like the true Faith was asked to take a year away for discernment. Sorry, was that not humble, stating that I am better than pedophiles?

    On this theme you might want to try the entire Book of Job, Lk 13:4 and the story in John about the man born blind (Jn 9:1-12)

    I am not as humble as some. But I don't think you should confuse an unclear mind with humility and certainty with arrogance. I have a lot of fun on this blog, and if you knew me in person you would know that I am a rather easy-going and a fun guy.

    In sum, you have done with me the exact thing you decry in me. You are harsh about my harshness; arrogant decrying my arrogance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And you mention my family, with your prescience, tell me, how have you any idea that my family has gone through a lot? My wife and I have supplied a superb, loving environment to our children. My wife stays at home with the kids. That implies a financial sacrifice that we think is more than worth it. Our kids are very happy. And, they adore their father. They don't know the financial hardships we bear for them, but they will some day and appreciate them.

    Finally, what you might want to think about, a man who doesn't conceal his faults from his readers - is that a man who is especially troubled with pride?

    Okay, actually finally, have you ever read the Letters of St. Paul? Talk about complaining! Paul never blew sunshine to make everyone one think everything was hunky-dory. Most people don't write blogs because they aren't up to the degree of self-disclosure it necessitates. Although I don't discuss all of my private affairs here, I try to present a real person here, not some piece of polished marble. Paul fascinates me because of the humanity that comes across in his letters. Was Paul an angry little man, like me? Possibly, or possibly it's simply that Christians should not be positive about bad things.

    If I air my frustrations on this blog, don't think you are better than me because you don't; or because you do so by means of an anonymous comment... I ask for money knowing that I have never hidden from anyone what kind of person I am. I have a whole host of faults, probably not more than others, perhaps not more than you even. I have a few regrets. Some of these relate to jobs I've held. I cannot imagine that there are many people who can really say otherwise. I am also intensely proud of what the Lord has done through me here and there. I call myself "God's brat." For good and for ill, that's what I am.

    And as for self-interest - and you could not have known this because I did not write about it - I recently ended a position as a health care provider for the elderly. Have you ever washed people too old to wash themselves? Have you ever changed them? Cleaned up after them? I was laid off from that job because the patient numbers declined. My employers asked me to come back if they ever need another male care-giver again. Does that sound like the person you are describing?

    I have worked in soup-kitchens, I have been attacked by the homeless, I have dug graves, I have washed toilets in public bathrooms for my family.

    In sum, the only reason I have belabored a response here is that I have publicly asked for support in my Christian ministry and your opinion of me might prejudice that and thus hurt my family.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a vague memory of someone writing before more or less what you have written here and me responding more or less in the same way. It was probably you. You obviously don't like what I'm all about and that's cool, but I do think that the bottom line is that the Gospel is preached regardless of whether or not I am the ideal messenger. There were lots of Old Testament messengers who were less-than-stellar. So, I am okay with saying, "Here I am, Lord. Is it I Lord?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Booo!!! Who is this coward criticizing you anonymously in the dark? Keep fighting the good fight Dr. Kerr! My family sacrificed a lot too when we became Catholic. My father lost his salary as a Lutheran pastor and my parents financed their studies in theology at the JP II institute in Melbourne, Australia from the sale of our house. We came home in 2006 and the price of housing had doubled. The only reason we have had a place to sleep is from the charity of others. My parents found work with their diocese but were only given a pittance. So I understand something of what you are going through and I hope to continue to support you with some of my writing.

      Ignore the petulant and pietistic bullshit others throw at you just to bring you down, its demonic rhetoric. And don't indulge them with long answers. "Don't throw your pearls before swine." I know you don't need me to tell you what to do, but for me its personal.

      Respect and prayers.

      Delete
    2. I respect your loyalty and support for Colin. However your comments suggest that you may not yet have a full appreciation of the tremendous responsibility that comes with being a husband and father of six children of your own. Colin says the situation is becoming dire...does that mean that they are at risk of losing their housing or not being able to feed the children? If Colin were a single man responsible only for himself, and made the decision to carry on this lay evangelistic path relying on donations as his source of income, I would wish him all the best. But having made the decision to marry, his first duty is as a husband and a father and to take care of and provide for his family. If he doesn't receive donations soon, it may mean that he has to be willing to sacrifice what he wants to do for what he needs to do.
      Having said all that, again I'm glad you're supporting Colin. I'm thankful for people such as yourself, willing to defend other Catholics.

      Delete
  5. Yeah, it's easy to tell someone to go take a lousy job they don't like in order to feed their family - sometimes even the lousy jobs aren't there. It's also a lot easier said than done to just pack up and move where the jobs are, especially if you have children. Praying for you way down South.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You guys are so nice!

    I did feel like the negative words were used by Satan to keep me discouraged. I can come up with enough discouragement on my own, that's for sure! Jonathan - thanks for the inspiring story. Rebecca, part of the problem is we can't afford to move anywhere even if there was a good job!!! BTW, I thought about you tonight on my 10 k run, wondering how long until I can keep up with a girl my age! I don't even want to know how quickly you can do a 10k!
    Please, keep up the prayers, both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're also quick to judge Colin. I noticed that about you right away...

    As someone who worked with you... I still remember hearing you burst out laughing, all the time, every day. It was an absolute joy.
    As someone who once sought employment in Barry's Bay... there isn't any.
    As someone who is full of pride and lacking in charity... I actually have a decent paying job that supports my family.

    Maybe the problem is that you're a convert? It always seems as though that converts suffer more for the faith. And that, indeed, is humbling to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. thanks, Dan. The convert angle I think is a part of the problem in that it means I'm an idealist who wants to really do something.

    Also, I don't have family support, as would many cradle-Catholics in my position, that is, family members who think that evangelization and theology are really important and so are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

    If you can't laugh, you might as well give up!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Colin,
    Let's look at this from another angle...you've heard of Catherine Doherty's teachings on the "duty of the moment", which means that God's will for each of us is to take care of the primary responsibilities in front of us right now. As a husband and father, your duty of the moment right now, this week, this month, is to be the provider for your family. Your attempts to do so through your lay evangelization work aren't turning out well, as demonstrated by your plea for financial support. Possibly God is indicating to you that this is not His will for you at this time, but you don't want to listen? You indicated that other people have told you this before, but you prefer to listen to those who tell you to persevere because that's what you want to hear. You said you don't want to live if you can't speak and write about God to others, but maybe this is your will and not God's. Perhaps God is calling you to set aside this work for now, perhaps returning to it once your children are grown. There are other Catholics in the US and Canada who are doing lay evangelization work and God seems to be blessing their ministries, helping them to grow and reach more and more people. If that isn't happening for you, perhaps it's God's way of telling you that it's not His will for you right now.

    By the way, my message to you yesterday was the first time I've ever commented, so if you've received similar comments in the past, they were from someone else. And perhaps these comments are inspired by the Holy Spirit, rather than demonic in origin as you and another person suggested. To be clear, the only reason I commented yesterday was that I felt compassion for your wife and children. I doubt the devil gives a hoot about the well-being of your family, but I do. If your financial state is so bad that you have to reach out to strangers for help, I suspect all is not as rosy at home as you state it is. Not knowing where the money is coming from to pay the rent/mortgage or buy groceries is a stress for any wife and mother. Your children, especially the older ones, may be beginning to question why Daddy changes jobs so often. Your sons are learning from your example on how to be the provider for the family. As Michael Voris often states, the nature of true manhood and fatherhood is sacrificial. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate making the sacrifice of giving up what you love to do in order to do what is best for your family.

    I am sorry for any pain I have caused you, and continue to ask for God's blessings on you and your family.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Your attempts to do so through your lay evangelization work aren't turning out well, as demonstrated by your plea for financial support. Possibly God is indicating to you that this is not His will for you at this time, but you don't want to listen?" - Sure this is possible. I'm sure Colin recognizes this is possible. But I suppose it's also possible that the Holy Spirit is prompting Colin to ask for financial support. I'm pretty sure that's something that other lay evangelists do. I wonder why/how the Anonymous Speculator has ruled out this possibility. -DM

      Delete
    2. You're right, there are other lay evangelists who ask for donations - Patrick Sullivan is one of them. Have a look at his blog at https://evango.net/blog/ It's also a good example of how to evangelize with humility and love and concern for his fellow man.

      I didn't rule out the possibility that Colin will receive donations as a result of asking - with God all things are possible . However, Patrick has the advantage of living in a more populated area with more exposure to a greater number of Catholics, many of whom are financially well off. This increases the likelihood that he is able to support his family with donations received. Colin doesn't have those same advantages living in Barry's Bay. If the financial support doesn't start coming in soon, it may be a sign to Colin that this is not God's will for him at this time. The bottom line - and my impetus for commenting - is concern for his family and that their needs are taken care of. I'm sure we can agree that's what we all want.

      Delete
    3. Took a look at Patrick Sullivan. Seems like a good self-promoter. (Sure didn't dazzle me with his humility!) He seems to be a poor writer (a very poor blog-writer, anyway) with nothing particularly interesting or insightful to say, and no evidence of a sense of humour. He's probably better looking than Colin though. And he dresses better. (Sorry Colin - I know you'll be crying inside when you read this.) So I guess you think the Church and the world just need more shiny, happy, intellectually flaccid Patrick Sullivan-types. Maybe you're right! Anyway, have a nice day! (Or, in the words of Patrick Sullivan, should I say, "Giddy up!") -DM

      Delete
    4. There is nothing wrong with my Walmart t-shirts. Some Cambodian lost fingers making them. Show some respect.

      Asking for money is pretty much essential to a layman attempting ministry. I have been very slow in figuring that out.

      Delete
  10. Hi, Dr. Kerr. For several reasons, I was reluctant to comment at first after having read this post. I thought that it wasn’t my place to share my perspective on your situation, partly because I’ve never met you in-person, which makes me relatively uninformed, and because I worried about my intentions being misunderstood. However, I’ve never really liked the idea of ‘knowing one’s place’ (in some sense of the expression), especially at the expense of suppressing one’s beliefs or tolerating injustices. And I perceived what ‘Anonymous’ wrote to be gravely unjust (although I wouldn't pay too much attention to anyone who isn't willing to personally stand behind what he says). Him having likewise known you only through your writings further convinced me that in fact it would be all right to contribute my own thoughts. Also, while my intentions were always good and honest whenever I’ve commented in the past, I currently find myself in a position where there really aren’t any reasons to doubt my intentions in sharing my bit, while encouraging you in your writing. So, I will express myself freely and honestly without much regard of what people might think of this:

    In brief, I’ve begun reading your blog over a year ago. At the time, I’ve found myself in a situation where I felt that it be right to get to know the certain realities which ought to have been important to me. Due to the constraints of a demanding graduate program and living in the city, however, I wasn’t quite able to get to personally know them as much as I would have liked to at the time. Much of what I’ve heard or read here and there formed the basis of my impressions (many times faulty first impressions) about the Academy, LifeSite, MH, or Barry’s Bay in general. Your blog, however, was a real (although rather limited) way for me to commune and better familiarize myself with what I had wanted to.

    You seem like the person who wholeheartedly believes in the life he’s living, in knowing and upholding the truth in life, and in conveying his knowledge and faith to others for their own wellbeing – not only to firm believers, but to non-believers and to people outside of your community too. You seem like one of the only people whom I have ever interacted with in any capacity who would be ready and willing to give up their life for God. I personally admire and respect that so very much. Not to mention that you do seem very intelligent and your writings are engaging and often thought provoking, which is a necessary element in writing if one’s aim is to bring his readers closer to any ideal. I may not agree with everything that you always say, but I do believe that there is a real need for more people like yourself in the Church, who can convey the ‘hard truths’ that aren’t diluted by populist opinion, in a more direct way – there are plenty of evangelists already who can tend to those whose closer engagement with the Faith would initially depend more on superficial means. I was raised in a Catholic family here in Toronto, and I’ve always sort of thought of myself being secure in the faith (which is likely an unfortunate thought), but I think that reading your blog, among other more recent experiences, have made me realize that I can in fact do infinitely more in order to have a greater awareness and presence of God in my day-to-day life. So, thank you for giving me at least a glimpse of what seems like a very good life.

    I’m sure that there are many people who admire what you do, whose lives you’ve changed for the better, and who’d be willing to support your valuable work. Hang in there – God will give you more grounds to clearly discern your calling. Try not to be discouraged.

    Prayers and respect,
    Simon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Simon. Your comments are always welcome. It's encouraging when someone seems to be struck by what I write. It's very important for me to hear how others understand what I'm up to, so that I can seek out God's will a little bit better. It's good that this whole conversation has occurred, even Satan-boy's contribution (lol).

      Delete
  11. lol, he's probably not going to like that

    ReplyDelete
  12. We are praying for you and your family, Dr. Kerr.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete