As a blogger, I probably have written some 2000 or more blog articles for various blogs over the last 15 years. That includes more than 1200 at Triablogue, the home of the late Steve Hays, who was one of the most brilliant thinkers who’s ever lived; 175 at Beggars All (James Swan’s site), 400 at this blog (johnbugay.com), and another 400 at a blog entitled “Reformation500”. Those last two are blogs that I have set up.
Some of these blog posts were very long, and some were short. Some were extremely detailed, and others (as in the case of what I was doing during Bethany’s struggle with leukemia) were merely photos with short, if any, captions.
I have always thought of myself as a writer. During my college years, I studied journalism; I have tried all my professional life to “be a writer”; early on, say, during the 1990s, I was able to accomplish that, in a couple of very fulfilling career positions. But the marketing and advertising world changed. Though I was largely a “news” writer, with a strong emphasis on writing newsletters and corporate public relations in those days, technology changed, and my roles later changed too, to documentation and marketing, and eventually, I moved almost completely out of writing and into marketing automation.
But I continued to write personally. I have been dedicated to understanding the truth of things, and writing clearly, so that others would understand. That’s been a foundational definition for me I’ve always sought to be truthful, and in many cases, I’ve sought to be provocative. In some cases, I was a bit too provocative, and instead of fostering understanding in my readers, I’ve actually gotten some of them riled up. You live and learn.
While some of my personal writing revolved around Beth and her difficulties, the vast majority of what I’ve written centers on religious struggles that I’ve had over the years, most particularly with regard to questions surrounding, “what are we to do with Roman Catholicism?”
These are questions that occupied my intellectual efforts for most of my adult life. I am 62 as I write this. I was dogged by the question of Roman Catholicism during my early years – maybe from age 17-24. I went back, for a while, and even thought about studying for the priesthood (I had gotten accepted to St Paul’s seminary in 1983-4). But I couldn’t go through with it, and beginning around age 35, I started revisiting those questions again. A few years later, I made a final break with Roman Catholicism.
It wasn’t a spurious decision. It was something that I deliberately studied, and thought about, and prayed about, and I came to the clear, unmistakable conclusion that I could no longer remain Roman Catholic.
And even after I had left, there were the “concerns” from friends and relatives, the “oh yeah, whaddabout this” questions. I was honest enough in those years to try and answer all the “whaddabouts”, and in the process, I became knowledgeable about Roman Catholicism to continue to write about it at a very high level.
Over the years, my experience studying and writing about various aspects of Roman Catholicism enabled me to become well known enough that a couple of Protestant writers, seeking to write a kind of textbook for Protestant college and seminary students, contacted me and asked me for source materials that they could refer to. My name appears in the acknowledgements of that book; the Kindle image appears at the top of this article.
I should say, all of this came in the context of what I’d describe as a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and a deep love for Christianity.
Christianity has provided the philosophical underpinnings for my entire life, even my young life, even though I might not have described it that way. I’ve always looked to take care of “inner things” before the externals.
[As an aside, I knew a woman who focused exclusively on externals –dressing properly, or folding her napkin the right way when she was done with dinner; but her inner life was a complete mess.]
My goal in life has always been to take care of the most important thing first. Things you might call “the heart of the matter”. Is there a God? Am I right with “The God who is There”? (Shades of Francis Schaeffer). Am I living in a way that is honoring Him? Am I being a good husband? Am I being a good father? All of those things have tended to preoccupy me, ahead of questions of externals.
There was a time when wars were fought over the kinds of issues I had studied all of my life. In our day, God is marginalized, and Protestant vs Roman Catholic question now seem more like tempests in tea pots.
This just shows how far our culture has moved, away from the most fundamental things. Maybe the economic malaise we’re seeing will persuade some people to take another look. I hope it does.
My intention now is to re-edit, re-package, and re-publish some of those blog articles here, in a way that will, I hope, be meaningful for some people today. That includes people who are close to me, and it likely will mean that some family members who are still Roman Catholic will read these things.
My religious sentiments won’t be a surprise to many people, I hope. But I also hope that my lines of reasoning will help people to understand why I think the way I do.