I've always been knowledge hungry and book crazy, so topics that I get into something (whether it's history or guns or brewing or Catholicism) I invariably read a lot of books. Indeed, if anything, I'm sometimes in danger of knowing more about a field than I actually practice it. (My ratio of Go books to Go games is pretty scary -- and I'm still not that strong a player, doubtless for that very reason.)
Some years back, when we lived in California, MrsDarwin and I were on the RCIA team for our parish. We helped out there for two years -- and in the process made a couple of very good friends. However, I tended to instinctively sort people into two groups, the very small group of converts who were reading their way into the Church (and thus reading many of the same books that I also found so fascinating) and the much larger group of "others".
It was only after a while that it penetrated my categorization system (or perhaps more precisely my intellectual pride) that while some of these "others" were entering the Church "for family reasons" -- a sort of ecclesiastical marriage of convenience which nonetheless can blossom, over time, into a love match -- other were doing so for deeply felt reasons. Some of these converts had found Catholicism through admiration of some particular friend or relatives devotion -- others had been seeking something, and had recognized what they were looking for when they found the Church. But because of the differences between us it took me a while to catch on that you could love for itself without reading about it all the time.
That old lady kneeling over in the side chapel might not spend her spare time reading up on Benedict/Ratzinger's corpus of the last thirty years. She might now know about the filioque controversy or have an opinion on the derivation of the various Eucharistic Prayers. She may well just believe -- finding God in at least as deep, indeed perhaps a far deeper way, through simply praying.
Something I occasionally need to step back and remind myself when I get a little too in among the trees with regards to liturgy debates or parish politics or what have you.
The reluctant pot-stirrer
2 hours ago