This book attempts to provide an historical-autobiographical framework for essays that have appeared over the last 20 years. Blogposts that may have seemed to many readers as unconnected forays into the philosophy and theology that supports a modern universalist spirituality, can be read against the background of the life-experiences that inspired and, in my judgment, necessitated them. I have assumed that those experiences were common to my contemporaries who come from the same formation and historical conditioning as I did. I may be wrong. But regardless of how others may see things, I make my assessments on an objective basis. These essays are not just my subjective reaction.
My recent explorations into the place of Buddhist practice are not included here. The essays are all from a time when my principal focus was the clarification of what actually created the doctrinal complex we call Western Christianity; the ultimate intention, of course, was its evaluation. I had encountered many clues over the years that the message of Jesus as recorded in the gospels had been changed, bypassed and sometimes ignored by the teachings I was given in the Catholic educational system. But throughout my entire formation ― from the elementary school catechism to the dogmatic theses of seminary training ― a full twenty years of unbroken instruction accompanied at all times by the rituals and spiritual practices designed to inculcate “the mind of Christ,” I never seriously doubted the fundamental humanizing potential of the doctrinal base or Church structures. It was in the experience of pastoral practice ― my service of the people ― that I first began to see the damaging effects of the Catholic ideology I had inherited and embraced, much of which is shared by “reformed Christianity.” This book attempts to give a face and flesh to what I learned, how I changed, and what I believe must be said out loud for all to hear.
Tony Equale, July 1, 2019
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