With some trepidation (but with greater hope), I’ll post Part 2 of my three-part musing of what I mean when I say I’m a “brown” Catholic. Of course, like C.S. Lewis, I’m no professional theologian. All I can offer is my faith, as lived and slowly understood by me, from my infant baptism to this day, twelve years after I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church. I have no official Catechism to quote, no canon law, no conciliar nor papal documents to give. All I have is what’s in me, and “me” — by the happy accident of having a University of Dallas philosophy professor and Cistercian priest as the celebrant of the Mass when I was a senior in high school and thus discovered the joy that is having a UD education — has a lot of intertextual stuff in there. There’s Augustine’s Confessions. There’s Aquinas’ Summa. There’s Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. There’s Dante’s Divine Comedy. There’s C.S. Lewis. There’s Tolkien. There’s Madeline L’Engle. And that’s in addition to the CCD classes and theology classes (as an undergrad *and* doctoral student ) that I took at UD, including one called “Poetic Theology.”
You should *see* the copy of the Nicene Creed printout I have in front of me — it’s so annotated and outlined, it looks like a page from a football playbook. And I need to locate my copy of Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” — or at least the lecture notes to one chapter there, “What Christians Believe,” notes which I created and used when I taught Lewis to my students when I was at Paul Quinn College. As an Asian, Catholic professor teaching in an African-American, low-Protestant school, I was profoundly interested in building bridges with my fellow travellers in Christ. I, a devout Catholic, was a teacher to them, devout AME members who trusted their teacher. So, how could I not?
Speaking of which… time for me to teach my current students.