Posted in Blog Posts, My Transition

On Being the Elephant

One of the attributes of America that I find intriguing is the fascination in being “different,” “hipster” if you will. I don’t think that this is different from most people; I think we all have an inherent and flawed fascination with the novel, the new, the modern. It accounts for the success of advertising and its captive consumer culture. I remember (with a smirk) the days when I played competitive soccer and Nike would come out with new colors for the same model cleats every two months or so, at which point the old colors (although no different in make) would drop $40 in price. It’s hilarious.

All this to say, I wonder if we give being different and unique too much hype. To continue with the cleats analogy, some of the guys wearing old Adidas Copas (ancient bare bones cleats) were just as good as those wearing the new Nike Mercurials with all the bells and whistles.

They’re both still cleats. Yes, there are some differences but they are both still soccer cleats. This is their essential attribute and nature. The fact that one is more flashy and novel is of no practical consequence. They’re both still soccer cleats

My point is, being new and different is not all it’s cracked up to be. Going into this semester, I have to wonder if I was riding off of that hype. A rare Catholic in a sea of evangelicals at Biola University. I fell victim to the appeal of being different. And coming to the end of the semester I find myself completely drained.

I was blessed with a supportive community this summer at Younglife that accepted my Christianity as valid, and time spent with them was refreshing and a much needed retreat from a pretty rough year before that. It’s communities like this that give us the support and environment any human needs to first be themselves and then to refine.

This was the energy I was riding into the school year, and now that wave has come to the shore and nothing but foam remains.

I’ve been isolated before, different than those around me. I played soccer with non-Christians, been to classes at a secular college, so I know what means to be a religious minority. But in cases like that I had Christian friends to rely on, or to pass people on to if they had a question I couldn’t answer, and to support me in times where I felt alone. I wasn’t the only Christian people knew. I didn’t carry the sole weight of exemplifying and explaining the Christian faith to the people I knew.

Things are a little different now. While I am in an almost exclusively Christian community at Biola, I am one of the only Catholics I know. According to the school’s statistics, there are about 90 Catholics in our 4,000 undergraduate school; however since the environment is predominately Protestant, not a lot of Catholics feel comfortable identifying as such publicly. I’m one of 2 that has, and I only know 3 other Catholics beside myself. Which is pretty sad if you think about it. It’s very similar to the early Christians hiding in the catacombs during the Roman persecution.

This would be one thing. But since I don’t come from a Catholic background, I don’t have friends back home I can call for help, a family to lean on and go to mass with, or years of knowledge about Catholicism to draw on. In someways I feel like St. Peter, a disciple of Jesus for a short time and then called before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. An illiterate (most likely) fisherman called before an intimidating religious court. I can only pray that the Spirit would grace my witness as it did Peter’s.

It truly is a shame and I think the reality of my minority experience is so out of sync with the reality outside of my life. There are approximately 1.3 billion Catholics in the world, and that makes up a majority of the world’s Christians. But even though my particular church might be made up of a billion, I could count those with whom I actually have a relationship on my ten fingers.

Being the Elephant in the room has been too exhausting for me to do on my own. It’s why I haven’t kept up my blog as vigorously; and until I find a group that can support me, I won’t be posting on the blog.

But before I disappear I have a few things to ask of you, my reader. If you are a Catholic reading this, please pray for the Catholics at Biola, that we might be set free from the fear we live in, and also for the Protestants here that they would see the value in appreciating the first 75% of their Christian history.

If you are a Protestant reading this, my appeal is to your emotions (and I know that’s not a valid appeal, and as a philosophy major this makes me cringe). I hope you can see the real, individual pain that the division of church causes in people’s lives, like myself. It is not just some congregational rivalry; it affects people on a personal level. Please work towards reconciliation both theologically and relationally. One of the really easy ways to do this is to stop using the language of “Christian and Catholic” when you really mean “Protestant and Catholic” (unless of course you really do mean to draw a line, in which case, please use the language of your conviction).

I’ll take this last moment to present a dilemma I find with Protestant culture (and this is an example from Biola, but it is definitely applicable to my experience before college).

Catholics, in the Protestant eye, can often be lumped alongside Mormons, in so far as good works being at least a factor in justification, as religious people that claim to be Christians, but in fact aren’t…and therefore are not saved. I’ve had this said to my face if you doubt that this happens. Biola, my university, has a student mission called EMI (Evangelical Mormon Interactions.) This provides an opportunity for Evangelical Christians and Mormons to hangout and (I’m assuming this happens because I’ve never been involved) witness to their faith. I know that growing up when Mormons would knock on our door, we would not turn them away, but invite them to discuss faith and try to help them see the true Christian gospel.

My dilemma is this: if we, Catholics, are as lost as Mormons, why is the reaction to the Catholic Church scorn and condemnation instead of the outreach and concern extended to Mormons. If we are both lost, reach out to both of us. Our responsibility of evangelism is to all, not just to the ones we choose. And if we are not lost, then why is there scorn and condemnation?

This is the dilemma I will end with. Perhaps I will write again sometime, but I simply can’t keep this up.

Peace be with you,

A brother in Christ.

Posted in Blog Posts, My Transition

Genesis-“And Morning Followed”

 

So if you gathered from my last post or not, my freshman year was filled with a lot of spiritual, emotional, and mental turmoil. I mean to throw everything I’ve talked about on top a typical freshman year was logistically stupid. I realize and acknowledge that now. My dad even warned me not to get too caught up in my inquiries until I’d adjusted to the transition into college.

But…I couldn’t help it. From a very young age I have been known to find a subject (however significant or insignificant it may be) and entrench myself in it. In sixth grade, my mom compared it to a dog who locks their jaw once they bite into something. Choosing my battles and choosing when to fight them is a foreign concept to me. 

But amidst all the craziness, I have experienced a feeling of homecoming and belonging like never before. And all of it is so interconnected, I struggle to put into words my experience so that you can understand it. Maybe it’s just one of those things. But I have to try. 

First. The Mass. I have tried to explain this to friends before and the best phrase I have come up with is: spiritually logistical. I know, probably doesn’t make that much sense, but hear me out. From earlier posts, you’ll know that I was discontented with my typical, nondenominational service. Why? For 20 minutes we’d sing contemporary worship songs (which I’d had my falling out with,) and then the pastor would preach/teach for the last 40 or so (I had an amazing pastor, and the fact that I was hearing the same things over again was entirely out of his control.) This was typical everywhere I went. However the Mass, on the other hand, is about the same length (an hour,) and is much more complex. For a complete picture of the liturgy of the Mass, I’m sure it’s easy to google. But for now, I will say that the entire point of it is not instruction, like the former, but rather a communion of believers uniting as Christ’s body. To this end, it will always satisfy. I should probably go into more detail, but I think I should dedicate another post to that. In all, I will always redeem the hour I spend at a Catholic mass, whereas that will not always be the case at my old church. Indeed, at least in a logistical sense, I could accomplish my old kind of Sunday with iTunes and a podcast at home or in my car. 

Second. Unity. It has always been a concern of mine that Christianity is so split up. To put it bluntly, a father of one family is a good father, a father of hundreds of families is a scoundrel. I think the fact we are so divided mocks our testimony of the ONE true God. God is not just the Judge, just the Healer, just the Friend, just the Wise One; He is all of these and so much more, and I believe his unified character should be modeled in a unified character in Christianity. I see this best embodied in the Catholic church, which has a high regard of the intellectual, experiential, spiritual, formalized, and personal aspects that I see singled out in other denominations. Saying the Creed in unison with my parish and praying the Lord’s Prayer while holding the hands of the strangers next to me, knowing the whole time that a billion others are doing the same across the world. These things. This is unity I have never before experienced. This is the first time I have ever really felt connected to Christians as a part of the body. The irony is that I rarely know more than 10 people in a parish, if that; whereas at my old church I would know probably more than 100. But I no longer have to church hop. My church has “campuses” everywhere. All of them the same (of course with their own cultural vibe determined by who attends.) I will never have to spend time researching a church’s doctrinal statement (if they even have one) to be sure I’m in the right place, or find a pastor who isn’t boring. These things are set for me and do away with the chaos resulting from so many denominations.

Third. Continuity. THE RIGHT CHURCH IS NOT THE ONE WE MAKE, IT’S THE ONE GOD MAKES!! I’m not used to liturgy, it’s not how I grew up, but a church is not the right church if it follows everything Andrew wants. In one way, I see liturgy as being a little restricting and at sometimes boring; in another, I see it as beautiful and unifying. The truth is not a machination of our fantasies, but rather the reality we must align with. Sure it’d be nice to have great contemporary worship songs written in entire theological accuracy that everyone can participate in and focus on good words of praise instead of catchy riffs, but sadly that usually isn’t the case. So I put aside my classic American consumerism and obsession with novelty, and settled for the traditional, but tried and true, way of doing things. Peter Kreeft, the author of my favorite book whom I late found out transistioned to Catholicism in college like myself, tells a story in his testimony that he was in a lecture about disproving Catholicism and he asked his teacher that if he and his Catholic friend were to travel back in time to the first century, which of them would feel more at home. Of course his professor said the Protestant would, but after reading the Apostolic Fathers, Athanasius, and Augustine, Kreeft determined that they were most definitely Catholic. Luckily, I got to read these books for one of my college courses in my freshman year and came to the same concluision he did. 

(Yes, I’m going over 1000 this time.)

Fourth. The Eucharist. Communion always meant something special to me before my transition, definitely much more than just a symbol. Indeed, one of the things I was looking for in a church when I went to college was one that had communion weekly. It was sure depressing when I had to refrain until Easter. But oh man, there MUST be something spiritual about the Eucharist. To be honest, I haven’t studied the systematic theological workings behind transubstantiation, but I still get butterflies every time I approach the Body and the Blood. I’ll definitely write more about this later, but for now know that this minute of my week I look forward to more than anything else. 

These things have sustained me through this year and continue to assure me of my decision.

Since my confirmation, my security in being “different” than most of my world has only grown, even though I still encounter the hate and ostracizing that goes along with it. This past summer I served again on a Younglife Summer Staff, and they were the first people that I really felt fully accepted that my Christianity as a Catholic was valid. Being built up by these friends is part of the reason I have the courage to write these things today.    

But I’m still obsessed with this beautiful thing called Catholicism, and very much still have my teeth clenched shut on it. I actually chose Dominic as my confirmation name, because St. Dominic was the founder of the Order of Preachers and also since he was named because his mother had a dream of a hound from God during her pregnancy. Dominic is short for Dominicanis which those who know Latin will know it means “Hound of the Lord.”

This concludes my story, and I will turn to writing more about actual topics. I would love to hear from you, my reader, what you’d like to hear about. Anything from, “Hey what’s up with the ‘extra’ books?” to “What’s the point of confession?” is fair game. Even if you have a stereotype of Catholics, let me know. You’re probably partially right, but there is usually more to it. 

Thank you for reading! 

Posted in Blog Posts, My Transition

Genesis-“And Evening Came,”

So I was coming home, right?

If you read my little prayer from the last post, you know I was pretty worried about this. I told two of my best friends about my new area of inquiry and one of them reacted as I feared (asking about all the areas that we Protestants think are antiquated and incorrect: Mary and the saints, works, the pope, etc.) and one asked me this, “Is Jesus still your Savior?” I said of course and he replied, “I don’t know that much about Catholicism, but as long as your answer stays “yes” to that question, have at it.”

If only everyone was so gracious and humble as him.

I remember sneaking out of the house to talk to one of the local parishes about my questions. The lady there recommended I buy the book Catholicism for Dummies (which I did) but by the end of our conversation she handed me a devotion version of the Catholic Catechism. To be completely honest, I found the renowned yellow cover to be the more helpful and to the point in my search for truth.

That Sunday, somehow I skipped my church service and snuck into my first mass. I expected the liturgy, yet I think the only bit I knew was the Lord’s prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. On the way out, I remember walking by and shaking the priest’s hand. He paused and said one word, “Welcome.”

At this point of the summer, the unified, traditional aspect of the Catholic Church was more attractive than ever. Same-sex marriage had just been legalized in America and evangelical churches everywhere went nuts. And by nuts I don’t mean they raged about it and protested (well some did) but that they became unpredictable. One church said it would preform same-sex weddings and welcome them into the church. One church walked the streets with signs saying, “God hates gays,” or trying to apply levitical law and advocating for the genocide of LGBTQ. It was chaos. One church said this, the other said the opposite. One can only imagine the desparation in trying to find a church that was rock solid in protecting the marriage covenant and the unconditional love that God has for all of us sinners.

My parents found out. I mean it’s pretty hard to hide a bright yellow textbook from your mom. I then had to tell my dad. We still laugh at his reaction. He said, “At least you aren’t telling me you lost your faith or got some girl pregnant.” He asked the same question my friend did and satisfied with my answer, left it at that. The only variance was that he felt he should read up, because he is my dad anyway. I eventually told my sisters and they (having celebrated Reformation Day with me for years at our school) had no response. I’d love some day to actually talk with them about the joy and homecoming I have since found, but I fear it would be disrespectful to my parents to initiate those conversations.

I left to go to college at Biola University, an interdenominational university. It requires its students to sign a statement of faith, which I did the previous winter. I checked what I had signed and found it to be consistent with beliefs I was looking into. So my mind was at rest…for a time.

Going there I was pretty hesitant to even mention that I was looking into Catholicism. I looked up stats from two years ago and apparently only 2.5% Biolans were Catholic. And let me tell you, that feels like an exagerrated percentage. While at Biola for my freshman year, I met two (…TWO!!!) other Catholics.

I got involved in RCIA at the nearest parish (RCIA is like the class you participate in while discerning whether to become a member of the Catholic Church) and it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy because it was so easy. I mean we were given Bibles and a post-it note and then told to put it on page 10…the Table of Contents!!! I was the only one there for religious convictions; most of the others wanted to learn more about the church they grew up in, or see what their spouse believed, or get confirmed so they could sponsor someone. Of course me being the single young man that I was, I was asked repeatedly to consider becoming a priest. HAHAHAHA! Can you imagine?! This was at the first class! I wasn’t even Catholic at this point.

But life was lonely. I felt that I had to keep this hidden from friends at school. For instance, I remember asking my friends to drop me off at mass on their way to their church. When I got out, one of their other friends said, “Wait? Are you a Catholic person or something?” I quickly replied, “Yes! Have fun at your evangelical service or something.” Later on, the night I spoke on the panel in Vlog-1, I was on a very casual date and I remember intentionally checking that she wasn’t coming to chapel that night. Why? Because this was something I was made to feel ashamed of. I didn’t want to mess up my chances, you know? Catholics are free game at Biola and I felt it. Even one of my better friends there considers me a Christian solely because he knows my beliefs aren’t fully aligned with Rome’s (…yet, I’m still studying.)

I had to wrestle with a lot of doctrine on my own. My questions started to go beyond the extent of the class I was in or my sponsor’s knowledge. When the leader of the RCIA class met my sponsor he said to her, “Good luck with this one.” Regardless, I was under the constant pressure to personally defend Rome to my friends.

This was the evening of the first day. My chaos had been burst open by light, but the process was not yet complete. If this post seeems dark or sad to you, it’s supposed to be. But morning will come in the next, and last, post about my story.

Posted in Blog Posts, My Transition

Genesis-“Let there be Light”

So back to my month on Summer Staff. I mentioned a friend coming out of nowhere and a voice telling me to do something unconventional PARTLY for the sake of a Star Wars pun, but also because it’s true. A lot of things happened at camp that totally blew my world to bits. Little Death Star bits.

I get to camp and, at least at Younglife camps, they typically have a session devotional for everyone serving on Summer Staff, Work Crew, and what not. The Bible verses were all from Paul’s epistles and his vision for how believers worked and lived together, so of course there was a huge theme of unity throughout. One of the girls on staff was a Catholic, as I found out sooner than later, and in light of our devotions on unity I had to accept her as a Christian because there was no doubt in mind that she desired to be like Christ to others and that she had a very personal relationship with him.

I think the tipping point that got the ball rolling was a late night discussion some of us staffers were having about being raised in the church. At one point, it got to bashing liturgy and the high church denominations that had more “ritual” or rigidity. And I surprised myself by speaking up and defending liturgy. I remember saying that at least they were careful and intentional with what they preached and professed, while definitely still posing a danger of taking it all for granted. Dang, I attended a megachurch at that time and I stood up for the high church, really?!

Next, my introversion kicked in. I know. God uses literally anything. Being a DJ at Younglife camp and being an introvert gets a little crazy after awhile. I remember it was about the second week and it was the easy day for us working A/V and all that. I literally didn’t have to be anywhere until 1pm. But I woke up at 6:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt God calling me to come hang out with Him in the club room (the big room where the kids gather for like the night talk and everything.) It was empty all day and so I turned on some choral music (I did choir up through high school) and turned the lights down quite a bit and just sat…and then kneeled…and then ended up prostrate overwhelmed in my fear of Him. He has never been more revealed to me as awesome Creator, ultimate Judge, and sovereign King than in those few hours I spent surrounded by the stillness, the darkness, and the harmonious reverberations of his praise.

In the deep peace of those moments, I was interrupted twice. Both times a good friend walked in and said, “Ahh this is creepy!” One snapped the lights on, one just simply walked out.

Really?!

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No, this is beautiful; this is reverence; this is peace. Over the course of the rest of camp it became evident that this high-paced, revival, hype energy was idealized and was the bar for fitting in and what it meant to be on fire for God. I, on the other hand, see nothing wrong with silence and the reflective spirituality that I got to experience that day. The negative reactions of my friends to my makeshift sanctuary had a reverse effect on me and made me appreciate solemn reverence even more.

On that same day, led by the Holy Spirit, I thought might go check the Younglife bookstore for any book relating to Catholicism in any way. THE YOUNGLIFE BOOKSTORE!! For those of you unfamiliar with Younglife, it’s a parachurch organization whose mission is to introduce kids to a relationship with Christ. So it’s not necessarily anti-Catholic, but the camp atmosphere is definitely more welcoming of an Evangelical or Pentecostal approach to ministry and conversion. Only a crazy person would go in to that bookstore expecting to find something relating to Catholicism amongst books like Love Does, The Message, and Younglife’s version of the Gideon Bible: The Journey.

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This why I say the Holy Spirit led me. For those of you who know me, you know that I am extremely cautious to presume to know the actions of the Holy Spirit, but there is no doubt in my mind that this was the Spirit’s work. On the shelf was a youth Catholic bible. A Catholic bible. I, of course, picked it up and bought it on the spot. It was the last and only one they had in stock and had put it on the shelf that morning. Dang……..

I sought out that Catholic girl and grilled her with questions only revealing how ignorant I was about sacraments, salvation, and reverence. I think the only thing I corrected her on was that C.S. Lewis wasn’t Catholic. And dang, if she thought that, how divergent could our views be? Multiple times, I think, we pushed the curfew hour talking about it. (Dear Summer Staff Coordinator, I’m sorry. I was just trying to find the truth.)

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I had ingrained in my head the phrase we all hear, “Some Catholics are Christians.” Or differentiating things by saying this is “Christian” and this is “Catholic” as if they were something entirely different. She flipped it on me, “Some Protestants are Christians.” Yep, true that. If being involved in Younglife has taught me anything it’s Matthew 7:21,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘LordLord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

My analytical brain started forcing this question on my soul. “If Protestant (the root word is protest) means not-Catholic, then the question ‘why am I not Catholic?’ must be answered.” If I am to participate in hindering Christ’s prayer for unity in John 17 and Paul’s constant exhortations, I better have an amazing reason.

 

…I rarely journal. I hate routine. But when I left camp I wrote this down,

“God, what are you trying to tell me about Catholicism? So many things on this camp have brought it into my consideration and thoughts in general. …(list of the stuff above)… All of it seems so real. Where do I go from here? How do I respect the process of Catholicism and at the same time make an immediate change of practice? How much do I talk to my family about it? What will my relationships with my church friends look like? Give me your guidance and peace.”

And as I went home…I reached 1000 words.

Posted in Blog Posts, My Transition

Genesis-The Chaos before the Light

So this is the first post on my blog about Catholicism. Ahh. Yikes. Big step. I think I should start my blog with the story of how I got to this place in my life (DON’T WORRY! Not my full testimony.) I won’t give much intro to what my blog is about or why I’m writing, you can read that in my About page. But without further ado, vaminos!

So the story really starts after my senior year of high school, but that was only possible because of things before that shaped me into who I am. I grew up going to Baptist churches which all turned into “nondenominational” or “community” churches when those first became a fad. I did Awana’s and all that stuff little kids do. I am so grateful for how intentional my parents were in how they steeped my education in the Bible and Christian perspective. I went to the same private Christian school K-12 (and not one of those ones where you send your kids to shape up, but like everyone had to be “Christian” and be a member in a church somewhere.) So I grew up with a ton of Christian education and biblical training. At some point in 7th grade, I actually had the Westminster Shorter Catechism memorized for my current Bible class. I discovered later, the original Westminster Confession denounced the pope as the Antichrist and the Roman Church as the Whore of Babylon from Revelation. Ironic.

One interesting thing to me as I grew up was how split the church was. At my school, our Christian-school “Halloween” was celebrated as Reformation Day, where we did skits of Martin Luther courageously standing up to the corrupt papacy and had a carnival that taught the younger students “all” about the Reformation and the antiquated, corrupt Church of Rome. So you could maybe say I grew up a little prejudiced. Just maybe. I look back on it now and I wonder,”How could we so joyously celebrate the biggest rift in church ever?” But denominations always puzzled me. I constantly was asking why my friends (who were still Protestant) went to different churches if we were all Christians. I thought the fact that I went to a megachurch was great because there was a larger unified Christian body.

That brings me to my senior year of high school. I was struggling with going to church on Sunday. Why? I simply had heard all the messages coming from the pulpit. I mean if you go to a Christian school where you had a very faith-integrated education in almost every subject, go to youth group and church all your life, have a personal interest in apologetics and Bible study, there’s only so much new stuff that can be preached to a congregation. I asked my teacher who also helped mentor me a little during high school, “Am I doing church wrong?” He said not necessarily, but he encouraged me to find God in the experience of going to church, not exclusively the teaching from up front. I tried that but I really only found that kind of experience in the worship period at the beginning and end, and yet there’s a good 30-40 minutes where I have to sit and listen to lessons I’ve heard before.

The other thing about my senior year was that I joined up with our youth worship team. I had a refreshed joy in playing the piano/keyboard, and after a little additional learning, I got to experience leading worship for the first time. It also bolstered my efforts to find God in the experience of church, and like I mentioned before, I was really only finding Him in the worship.

My favorite memory of leading worship was when our youth pastor let me play this absolute fire intro riff I had written for I Am by Crowder. It had the delay, the verb, we added some drums, it almost sounded like an intro to a U2 song. We started the song and everyone started clapping to the beat. It was just me and the drums. I felt like a rockstar. Shouts and cheers from our rather large youth group. We finished our set. When I walked off stage, I had just so much happiness welling inside me. It didn’t take long before my introspective nature started to analyze why. Not long after that, I felt like crap. How could I think so arrogantly about myself and my abilities on some keys? Isn’t the whole point to point to the One who deserves our praise? I quickly became skeptical of worship (that is, the part that involves us singing songs) and began to see things like lyrics that weren’t totally theologically accurate. For example…(and I’ll probably do a separate article on “worship” later)…the song that goes, “set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.” As much as I find it beautiful that someone is on fire for God, I also find it beautiful when Christians practice the fruit of the Spirit, including SELF CONTROL!! Things like these irk the hell out of me. But to come to a point, I then lost my last real hold on going to church for more than the fact that the Bible tells me it’s good and I should.

Senior year. Done. Finished. Fin. I’m off to college, right? Nope. I got a last minute opportunity to serve on Summer Staff at a Younglife camp. And that’s when my world paradigm made like the Death Star.

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I can’t say it was one thing that made me reconsider my comfortable world of secession, but it was more like a bunch of things, like a friend who helped me out of nowhere, a voice in my head that pushed me to do something unconventional, that eventually got that photon torpedo to hit its target. And yes, I am a nerd. Deal with it.

I’m at almost 1000 words right now and I am contemplating the appropriate length of a blog post, because at this point we’re at the good stuff, but there’s so much of it I don’t want you, my magnanimous reader, to miss any because you’re tired. One of my editors (friend with an opinion) is telling me I should take a break here. So next week I’ll pick right back up where we left off and talk about the New Hope…

Be sure to follow the blog so you can get the rest of the story next week. Also feel free to follow me on Facebook (Recapturing Catholicism) and Twitter (@RecapturingRome) so you can stay up to date on what I’m up to with the blog, what I’m thinking about topic wise, and you can even input questions or topics you’d like me to answer or write about.