A little background… I was raised Catholic and knew the "list" of things to do and not to do, but not the "whys". I didn't even know the church still used a catechism until about two years ago and I went to Catholic schools and university, I'm in my early thirties now. When I went to grad school I was invited to join a campus Bible study/service group. For the first time I felt I was part of an active Christian community. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that it was part of the International Churches of Christ/Boston Movement. I am actually a fairly intelligent person, but in my ignorance, zeal and naivety I joined what I now consider a very unhealthy church borderline cult. I finally left six years later depressed, with a shattered faith and a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder. After some counseling, group therapy, a move across the country, and time I finally started re-examining my spiritual roots.The difficulty she's grappling with is building a correct understanding of our proper relationship with God, and including a correct understanding of sin and grace:
Over the last three years I've been reading a lot and in the last year have been seriously considering returning to the Catholic Church. I don't have any serious Catholic friends and my Christian friends think I'm at best a bit crazy and at worst jeopardizing my soul for even contemplating this. I did talk to a priest soon after I left, but it went horribly. I couldn't bring myself to step into a church again for over a year. It's only been recently that I've decided to try again.
I don't know if you know anything about the ICOC, it was a spin off the mainline Churches of Christ. It was a young and vibrant fellowship, filled with immaturity and zealots. Everyone was called to live the same radical Christian life, which meant daily Bible studies, evangelism, fellowship, willingness to give up anything, etc (I know these are good things in right practice, but this was not that). And if you weren't "fired up" enough and being sacrificial enough well then you were ungrateful, lukewarm, and didn't care about the Lost, so then you were thoroughly rebuked with the appropriate scripture, even if it had to be pulled out of context. When you joined you didn't receive this treatment, only slowly as time passed and before you know it you wonder how you ended up in that place. It was truly emotional abuse tied up in your spiritual identity. At some point I knew no matter how much I tried to twist my personality into their "ideal" I couldn't, so I constantly felt that I was a disappointment to God and emotionally detached.And she asks:
So I guess my question as best I can formulate it right now, is might you have any ideas of how I could proceed in getting a correct balanced view of God, perhaps a certain book or author? Or any other comments/suggestions you might think useful for me. The only advice I've gotten so far is "fake it till you make it", or "just trust God and it'll work out".Does anyone have specific books, resources or authors to recommend dealing with these kind of issues from the Catholic perspective? I think some good resources on the proper place of the sacraments in our relationship with God and dealing with sin would probably be key, but I can't think of anything right off to recommend.