I’m a Catholic, an adult convert — more about that in “Becoming a Catholic.”
You’ll find something new here (very nearly) every Friday and Sunday. I haven’t missed a deadline yet, but I’m only human, and that’s another topic.
Every Sunday I talk about why I think trying to live as if loving God, and my neighbors, matters; or whatever comes to mind about what’s happened over the last few millennia:
- “Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic” (January 22, 2017)
- “Hating People: Not an Option” (November 15, 2016)
- “Amos and Social Justice” (September 25, 2016)
This blog shows how and why I follow Catholic beliefs and practices in America today: and reflects my interest in science, history, and my faith.
That’s why I look at what we’re learning about the universe, and why I think pursuing truth is a good idea, each Friday — and sometimes on Sunday, too:
- “Knowledge: Opening the Gift” (March 26, 2017)
- “Climate Change Continues” (January 20, 2017)
- “Bioethics and a Three-Parent Baby” (October 7, 2016)
My name’s Brian H. Gill. I live in a small town in central Minnesota. You’ll find some of the usual biographical stuff under “Some Guy Living in Small Town America,” below.
Getting lost in the crowd hasn’t been an option for me. I’m still not sure whether I stand out, or others steer clear of me, and that’s yet another topic.
By the time I entered kindergarten, one doctor had used me as a sort of lab rat — without my parents’ knowledge — and another had fixed my left hip.
I didn’t need replacement parts for nearly a half-century, though: so I’m a happy camper.
Several decades of undiagnosed major depression, and something on the autism spectrum, kept my life interesting. But my glitchy neurochemistry may be part of a tradeoff that gave me freakishly enhanced language skills, so I can’t complain. Not reasonably.
Assorted prescribed medications, including a powerful antidepressant, make it possible for me to think without fighting the machinery these days. That’s a wonderful change of pace.
I’m fascinated by three things, that which:
- Exists within the universe
- Exists beyond
- Might exist
Research and writing skills developed in an eclectic career — and that’s yet again another topic — help me share what I’m learning about this wonder-filled universe, and Catholic beliefs.
I became a Catholic as an adult, mostly because I insist that what I believe must make sense: no matter how I’m feeling at the moment.
I’ve written about my glitchy neurchemistry before, and probably will again:
- “Internet Friends, Real People” (March 19, 2017)
- “Elastic Brains and New Tech” (October 14, 2016)
Some of my fellow-Catholics share my lively interest in this astounding universe, others do not.
I’m not a ‘typical’ Catholic. After two millennia, and with more than a billion Catholics living around the world, I doubt that there is a ‘typical’ Catholic.
Like I said earlier, I’m a convert to Catholicism.
I love our rich history and traditions: and understand that we are literally καθολικός, universal.
There’s a difference, by the way, between traditions and Tradition.
As a Catholic, I am dedicated to our Tradition.
That emphatically does not mean that I see the customs of some American Catholics of the mid-20th century as the only ‘real’ Catholicism: and that’s still another topic. Topics.
My values are somewhat counter-cultural. That’s because I’m a practicing Catholic who is also an American citizen: not an American whose name shows up in a Catholic parish directory.
America has been a Protestant country, with some tolerance for people who don’t go to the ‘right’ church. Following my beliefs in a system that isn’t quite built around them can be challenging.
Of the roughly 7,095,200,000 people alive today, just under 17% (16.85%) — about 1,195,540,000 — are Roman Catholics.
Of the 318,892,000 or so people who live in America, 23.9% are Roman Catholic. That’s 76,215,000, or thereabouts.1 (April 2014)
You’re not as likely to meet a Catholic in America as you are in Mexico, Poland, Kenya, or the Philippines. But if you live in the United States, the odds are pretty good that you know one, or that someone you know does.
We’re Hispanic, white, black, American Indian, Asian, and other ethnicities.
And we’ve been here for quite a while. Baltimore became the seat of the first American diocese in 1789: and the first archdiocese in 1808.
Finally, some of the usual biographical stuff.
I’m married, we have four surviving kids.
One of them graduated with a music degree from Concordia College, Minnesota, and is married. Another graduated from Alexandria Technical College and is now an artist and cartoonist. A third is a writer, and the youngest is well on his way to being a computer geek.
More to the point, they’re all fine people: and know why their parents are Catholic.
I was born in 1951, graduated from high school, and eventually got undergraduate degrees in history and English: with art history, library science, and about two years of computer science on the side. I’ve been an English teacher, a beet chopper, radio disk jockey, sales clerk, researcher/writer, flower delivery guy, graphic designer, employment interviewer, and held quite a few other jobs.
(Brian H. Gill (text May, 2010, rev. March 2017; photo November, 2010))