We want to be at home in our faith. We will most certainly fail at that goal, but God does not. The recognition that God knows us and holds us tightly, even if we can't recognize that, reignites our roles as a loving parent, grandparent, son or daughter, and kindles our desire to be an authentic, prayerful child of God. We can grow a little less homeless every day, and be better prepared to walk fully into the Kingdom.
How must a Christian without formulaic answers live? Be hopeful in the Kingdom at hand. But, where is this Kingdom?
What happened to our children, or parents, or our grandchildren? How do we deal with their avoidance or outright dismissal of our faith. Was it us? What did we do wrong?
The folks who helped John Pearring with the book "Homeless Catholic: Confession and Testimony" have found companionship and a mission in a common sense of religious homelessness. Consequently, we have combined our witness and testimony opportunities into this locale, this online place to make available helpful encouragement to others who experience worry about belonging to a common and faithful Christian expression of their faith.
Join us in the effort, if you wish. Or, simply take what you need to allow God the constant grace to lead you home. You can get more than just a taste of home with God in this life.
From a Catholic perspective, John retells for a larger audience what he has written to his children about the faith where they were raised. In the book, John witnesses the faith he wish he had done better when they were children. But, his prayers for them are what matters. His testimony is not finished when they left home.
A testimony of faith to the children we Christian fathers and mothers have raised may need to begin with a confession in order to properly follow with testimony. In two parts, Confessions and Testimony, the book Homeless Catholic presents the foundation of Christianity, covering a host of faith issues packed into a witness of urgency – everlasting life, the Trinity, love, saints, religion, crossing over, sin, evil, the father and the Father. The book presents to a father's children the faith of their childhood, the faith of their father, from his position as a Homeless Catholic.
Catholic, denominational, and Evangelical Christian parents often feel like failures. It’s a large ugly slice of a grim reality, isn’t it? We raise our children as Christians, and pray, thinking we’ve done a pretty darned good job. Then, the bright, shiny new adults wave goodbye when they leave us, also waving good-bye to the faith we thought they’d keep. They embark on their merry way as citizens, spouses, and parents, but no longer members of our faith community, or any Christian community.
Homeless Catholic addresses a primer of Christian faith in the first chapters of Homeless Catholic, challenging children and their progeny to give an old man their ear.
Not all Christian children abandon the Body of Christ. Of course, there are some who stay. For some Catholic and Christian families, their children remain steadfast, and not just out of loyalty or respect. They are full-fledged believers. A number of formerly Catholic-raised Christians migrate to Evangelical homes. Heck, that’s pretty terrific, too. It’s the rest of us parents referred to in Homeless Catholic that need a reset. Believers with children who yawned or grimaced through their teens need a kind word. When those children packed their bags and found plenty of other things to do than embrace Jesus Christ, welcome the infilling of the Spirit, and fall on their knees to worship their awesome Father, those same parents need answers. With everything else to experience they ask us why would they ever carry around the childish stuff of their childish religion? They are right about the childish part, but what do we tell them?
Several chapters of Homeless Catholic explain why anyone should buy into a Christian world view, and what an adult life with Jesus means. It means, of course, everything! Without the Holy Spirit’s still, quiet voice, and the certain authority of loving grace and mercy our children may be walking - maybe years away, but frighteningly with a clear knowledge - off a cliff.
Our initial reactions as parents vary on what happened to our children. A vast group of us blame the Church as a failed institution. Within that blame category there are plenty of issues, events, doctrines, religious leaders, and theology to point out as the reason for our children’s exit. We can also blame the world, which overwhelmingly wins the, “Hey, over here!” battle for our children’s attention. We shamelessly point the finger at other culprits, and deceivers who shower our children with more attractive sounding shiny baubles. We’ve not done anything to deserve this. It’s not our fault. Right?
In Homeless Catholic, the confession begins with the religiously homeless parent as the primary cause for our children’s wary and woeful dissatisfaction with the religion where they were formed. Are you one of those parents?
What of falling in love with Christ within the religious world we lived, and still live? What happened there? Well, what happened to us as parents? A father's poor fathering, a faulty image of who the Father really is, can contribute to a child's lack of love for God. For both mothers and fathers, a conditional, rather than unconditional, relationship to Jesus Christ will miss the point of the redeemer as our brother. And finally, finishing off our poor witness of the full Trinitarian God, we may reveal selfish expectations of, and subsequent distrust and despondency with, the Holy Spirit. Sure, there are Church’s failures, but as a parent, our image of God, the conditions on which we believe God loves us, and our trust of God’s presence are the primary ways our children learn about God.
The second part of the book emphasizes the community of faith as the only place to find our eternal home here, because community is the place where God gathers us. Using the Roman Catholic infrastructure as an example may not be what you think is the best format for community, leadership, and even “time management,” but book defends, nonetheless, the wisdom of belonging to a family of believers. The author comes from within the Roman Catholic communion. We urge for all of us to be open to the Spirit’s leading. Christian communities abound. Let them touch you!
The book lights up a new way to be a Christian witness to our children by assuring them that God is talking to them. God loves our children! They need to know that.
The website takes the Homeless Catholic book to an online ministry.
The book and the website are a reminder that God is talking to us as parents, too. We are not apologetic about being a Christians, or Catholics, or Evangelicals. Nor should any Christian evangelized in an authentic faith community that gathers to worship the Father, follow the Son, and accept the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The book begins by identifying the truth of our Christian faith, our grafting to the chosen ones, the Hebrews, a developing eon of Catholic fundamentals for a non-denominational life with God, and the living, Christo-centric Biblical world view. The book also lines us up as Christians first, and all of us as catholic, or universal as the creed outlines our faith, in any of relationships with Christianity.
This personal acceptance of our parental failure is not to put moms and dads on a whipping post, but to identify how we need to see God work through us. Being forgiven as a poor image of God the Father is essential, but what about our children? Did they see us cry out to God, beg for forgiveness, and witness how we have been changed and renewed? How do we present a better example for our children, assured in our faith rather than judgmental, and loving rather than disappointed and disgusted with their choices?
The website continues to help us address God's loving graces, rather than get lost in our failures.
For 40 years John has continuously struggled to father his faith to his six children. Educated in faith, with graduate school studies, ministry training, and decades of youth and adult education. Yet, not all of his children are convinced of Christianity as the gathered community that God calls the world's population to inhabit. Credentials are not the driving force, obviously, for discovering God and the Body of Christ.
A writer in both freelance and by assignment work, John has written books, poetry, newspapers, journals, and the gamut in corporate communications. As a public face within the Catholic community, both a Catholic newspaper editor and an apologist in the diocese where he still lives, he felt compelled to publish the dilemma of passing on the Christian faith to his children, confirmed that his own brokenness contributed to their uneasiness with religion. And, yet, convinced that God will never let any of them go.
Steve read a near finished version of Homeless Catholic a few years ago and declared the book not nearly as finished as originally proclaimed.
His contributions, not to just finishing the book but taking it to the homeless audience, filled out the canyons of unexplained points and straightened up the wobbly thoughts.
A fine writer in his own right, Steve has joined the effort to awaken us to our homelessness, calling us to a home that is within our grasp, visible and delightful. He has expanded the flame for an effort to minister to those who are homeless in their Christian religious expression.
The book has legs.