59 Comments

I'd be lying if I wasn't smiling big while reading this article Daniel! I don't think I ever got to share with you that I am a Catholic convert. So much of what you wrote is familiar to me, especially about Mary. I'll have to share with you sometime how God handled that one :) I do want to say that wrestling is the best part, though it may not feel like it right now. Its when you can truly lean into God's love and see where He's leading you. Thank you for being vulnerable, and for sharing your joy in finding the liturgical calendar! I look forward to reading more of your journey!

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Thank you for sharing your heart brother! Excited to be reading and sharing ideas for liturgical living, to let God speak to us through the signs and the seasons.

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Beautifully said. I want to add that there is something divine, not only in the mended pot, but in the shattering itself.

What generation can compare to ours - that so many of its sons and daughters live in a time and place where history and truth are laid bare before them? Where faith is less a matter of place of birth, but an earnest journey to follow the Word?

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Nov 29, 2023·edited Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

Boy, do I feel this one. I'll write my spiritual autobiography on diacoNate at some point, but suffice it to say for now: you are DEFINITELY not alone. I'm sorry for the confusion and ache you're experiencing. I'm about a decade down the road from where you are and I can tell you that there is rich Christian life after the brokenness you are enduring.

If I may, I'd like to put a helpful tool on your radar from my own tradition, Anglicanism. The crown jewel of English Christianity, a companion in every season of life (liturgical and otherwise), and so vibrant that both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism have recognized its brilliance and taken it into their own traditions with only the slightest of modifications:

The Book of Common Prayer.

"Common" does not here mean "ordinary", but rather "shared by all". I have both Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends who can and do use the BCP without qualm, who don't find it "Protestant", and even recognize in it prayers already familiar to them. Get yourself a BCP and let it draw you into the daily rhythm of prayer, continue the work of soaking you in Scripture, give you words to lift up when you feel like you can't manufacture any more of your own, and nourish your soul as you make the journey toward wherever it is God is taking you.

In particular, this one: https://www.ivpress.com/the-1662-book-of-common-prayer

And, if you decide to get yourself one, the publisher has a ton of free, helpful resources to help make the best use of it, including a guide through Morning and Evening Prayer. Here's the one for MP: https://www.ivpress.com/Media/Default/Content-Articles/A-Companion-to-Morning-Prayer.pdf

I am praying for you as you plod forward, my friend! One thing I can say: God isn't in a rush. He never is. Take your time discerning. It is important work. But also know that God will be with you no matter which decision you make. There is nowhere you can go to escape His presence.

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

What a beautiful metaphor -- the broken pottery, and the Kintsugi.

I hope you'll be able to participate in some of the beautiful in-church celebrations of Advent -- a Rorate mass (see if there's one somewhere near you, but not every Catholic church has them), an Advent penance service, or a Lessons & Carols service, for example! They are each so incredibly special.

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Nov 29, 2023·edited Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

I found myself in a very similar position as you several years ago, as far as being a Christian without a rooted tradition being inexorably drawn towards one but unsure between Roman Catholicism

/Orthodoxy. Like you I was drawn to Catholicism in large part due to how lovely the Catholic voices had been in this neck of the woods of ‘online discourse.’ They continue to be a delightful witness, but once I first attended a Divine Liturgy and found myself getting to know the community on the ground I did not look back as there was something at play there I had not hitherto encountered in my search. I have since been received into the Orthodox Church and hope you’ll be able to attend an advent Divine Liturgy this season as well :)

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

This was beautiful and vulnerable and perfect for reading as we go into Advent. Thank you. ❤️

It's not on the liturgical year, but I kept thinking of the book Prayer: The Great Conversation by Peter Kreeft as I was reading this. I'd really recommend him as an author as you continue to explore and grapple with things. He's Catholic, but he's similar to CS Lewis in that he writes many of his books to Christians in general, and he's got a gift for focusing on the essentials and things we all hold in common . You might find his stuff edifying.

I also kept thinking of the music group Harpa Dei. They have a YouTube channel of sacred music, and they have some beautiful songs associated with Advent. I'll have to see if I can dig up a link for you.

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

I hope you and your wife have a joyful time celebrating Christmas with your little ones! Blessings to you as you explore the treasure troves of ancient Christianity during this anticipatory season!

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

It is like all the branches of Christian faith are sitting around a card table. Each card in the deck has a single doctrine or rite or spiritual discipline. The cards have been shuffled by 2000 years of history and dealt out. We hold the hand that our denomination got. Our experiences, heart languages, and cultural character guide our preferences. The game is to play our cards to defeat the other players. But what if, instead, we put the cards face up on the table and collaborate by sharing our 'tribal' understanding and values about what we know about the gospel? No one has to convert to another sect. But we all can grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord.

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

Daniel, thank you so much for this! As a disenchanted Lutheran, I too have been struggling to figure out where exactly to turn, and have found myself drawn to both Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church. I often feel rather alone in all this, so it was wonderful to have someone articulate so well so much of what I have been feeling.

Also, I appreciate your suggestion of the liturgical app -- I have been listening this calendar year to a bible-in-a-year podcast from Ancient Faith Ministries (Orthodox Church) and have been wondering what I should do next as the year ends, so this is a welcome recommendation!

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Such a beautifully-expressed piece, Daniel, and I'm so thankful that you wrote it - these are words that need to be expressed and need to be heard. As your sister in the Ecumenical Mess, I resonate with it all! I love the kintsugi comparison; and though I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the options available to us (a blessing, but one that comes with existential angst!), I'm trying to see it as an accumulation of family traditions that we're all blessed to have access to.

I don't recall what I've said where, but - the modality of *region* has become so important to me in my faith journey, which is why I really connected with Fr. Matt Canlis' work to bring the parish mentality he found in Scotland back here to the US (more pointedly, Washington: the most un-churched state in the country!) It can feel like a delicate balance between ideology and locality, and I very easily turn into Goldilocks, finding all the porridge either too hot or too cold. You're not alone on the path, my friend!

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Daniel, your reflections are so right on. I am much further along in my Christian journey, but share a very similar pathway. I've been a Christian for over 50 years, saved during the Jesus movement and have been steeped in Protestant evangelicalism via the Foursquare Church. There are ties that keep me there, one of them being that my brother is a pastor of our church, but in the last 7 to 8 years or so, since I have been writing online, I have realized I have been missing a lot and began learning about the liturgies of the church year. In 2017 I wrote a book about it called "Reclaiming Christmas" for just that reason, offering ways for contemporary Christian practices to be woven in with the liturgies of the church calendar.

There is so much in the traditions of the liturgical church that we would do well to adopt and observe. I think that's why there is such a move from modern day church as entertainment and a desire to find something lasting and tied to the traditions that have lived on for hundreds of years.

((To be honest, I really wish I could be an Anglican, but don't tell anybody.))

God bless you on your journey.

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I was Assemblies of God-adjacent, you might say, in that I was raised independent Pentecostal, but a gentleman from AOG came and spoke at our church a few times. In any event, I'm Catholic now, and what you said about taking it seriously really resonated with me. One thing I really do appreciate is the liturgical order, the variety within the order but always the same rhythm, almost like a great dance, if you will. It's poetic, really. I don't know if this makes any sense, but I definitely felt your post and appreciated it.

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Nov 30, 2023·edited Nov 30, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

"What we all know but do not usually articulate is that order is necessary for art, music, and anything beautiful."

The whole essay was wonderful, but this stood out to me. It's what I was trying to articulate to someone over Thanksgiving - when "liturgical" is somewhat equated with "works-based" (ha) in some lower Protestant circles... I was trying to articulate exactly what you did here. It's not necessary for salvation but good golly, so much of our effort to make things orderly and beautiful and unified is not necessary! But it sure makes things better, richer, and easier to guide our hearts into continual focus on the Lord. It's actually kind of arrogant to think we can just re-invent the wheel for ourselves and wing it alone.

We are creatures of habit, formed by ordered loves - and having some pegs to hang our habits and loves on, with the Church at large, is no small thing for our flighty souls.

Thanks for writing!

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Nov 30, 2023Liked by Daniel Joseph Petty

I'm what you'd call a cradle Catholic, but I wasn't really practicing the faith until my mid twenties when living in the world bottomed out and I realized I needed more; and that was God and His Church. I think's it's beautiful how God shines a light on our path and there we find whatever we need to get closer to Him. Learning about tradition was like finding out I had this inheritance I never knew I could claim as mine, and it has been a source of much consolation, so I can relate with what you write and it makes me excited for where God will take you next.

P.S. I also share with you an admiration for the Eastern Orthodox Church, I have several icons myself and a prayer rope. There's also more beards in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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Great reflections. Your picture of the ceramic dish fits so well. I personally witnessed a friend speak in tongues (foreign languages) twice in languages that she should not have been able to speak! The Holy Spirit is very active among us! She is now a "charismatic Catholic." God bless you and your family on your journey to find the church that is right for you and your kids. It is not an easy undertaking. Even more difficult to make it a unified decision as a family.

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