About Becoming Gift
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
If you have not read it yet, start with my story on the About page.
The title "Becoming Gift" is inspired by paragraph 24 of "The Church in the Modern World" from the Second Vatican Council:
"This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself."
"How can I become a sincere gift?" is the fundamental question I am asking.
In the Spring of 2019, different parts of my life started to come together in new and exciting ways. Trying to be healthier, I was studying a variety of self-help and science publications. As my health improved, I experienced a massive increase in energy and creativity, and I started studying philosophy and theology again. I hadn't had the motivation to seriously study for almost a decade.
I am passionate about Pope St. John Paul II's teaching called the Theology of the Body (TOB). While there are many great books about TOB. These are often basic introductions or an attempt to answer ethical questions with TOB. There has been very little attention given to creating a model for living inspired by the insights of TOB.
TOB offers many rich insights on human relationships and sexuality. When people have struggles in these areas, they may be encouraged to learn about TOB. The core of what John Paul II is offering is an anthropology, a holistic vision of what it means to be human. I want to answer the questions, "If TOB is true, then how should I live my whole life?" and "what does spirituality inspired by TOB look like?"
As I continued studying, I realized that that the two questions I was examining were actually the same: "how can I live God's design for my life?" The excitement of this realization launched me into more intense research, and I started writing a book, something that I had sworn off ever doing.
After a year of studying, writing, and talking to a lot of different people about what I was working on, I became convinced that what I was discovering could help others. Then Awaken Catholic invited me to make a podcast, something else I never wanted to do. After praying and thinking, I decided it would be best to set the book aside. It became clear that sharing what I was discovering through a podcast and to offering a more in-depth take on a blog would be the best way to share what I was exploring.
A Podcast and A Blog
Why another catholic podcast? I love podcasts, but it seems like every Catholic who has ever written a book or given a talk is making a podcast. I think the market is saturated, but I also think it is the best way to make information available to the broadest possible audience. My podcast is called Physically Spiritual.
Why a blog? I hate blogs. They often feel like the blind leading the blind. While there are notable exceptions, my experience of the blogosphere has been freely shared, poorly researched, and half formulated thoughts. I know this is harsh, but I believe an author has a responsibility to their audience even when something is published on the internet. I decided to start a blog despite my feelings because it is another way to make information available to the broadest possible audience.
I want to offer depth to the content I am creating. My goal is to write articles on all of the topics I discuss on Physically Spiritual. Each episode will come with detailed show notes that include definitions of terms I am using, references for all quotes, and links to the corresponding articles. I also hope to offer a high level of research and transparency in what I write. I will provide references and further resources, so you know where my ideas are coming from.
I want to make it clear to my audience where my ideas come from, when I think I am sharing facts, and when I am sharing my opinions. I will be labeling everything as an article, editorial, or review.
The articles will be informational. I will be trying to synthesize what I know about the topic. They will contain more references, and I will try to make my opinions clear by using phrases like "I think" or "I believe." I will also start the articles with my bias, so you know up front. I will end with links to further resources: videos and readings.
I will label anything I publish that is mostly my opinion as an editorial. Almost none of what I am writing about is based on my original ideas. Still, I have not found these ideas synthesized anywhere else. These editorials allow me to share my experiences and theories that I think are helpful. It will also make it clear to you that these are not official church teachings or well-grounded scientific theories.
I want the reviews to provide an additional layer of depth to Becoming Gift. Most fundamentally, I want you to know that I am actually reading the books that I am referencing. I'm not just picking quotes out of Google searches. I will be covering a broad range of topics, and I want you to be able to decide which books to read without having to start reading them.
If you have read to this point, please hold me accountable to what I have said. Question my conclusions. I will be honored that you have thought about my writing enough to criticize it. Share your ideas, and point me to new sources.
Becoming Gift is my attempt to share my journey, the things I have discovered, and what I am still learning. I am passionate about exploring the art of being human, and I believe that applying the best insights of faith and reason is the key to go from surviving to thriving. I appreciate that you have read this, and I hope something I create helps you.