My relationship with my church changed drastically over the last couple of decades, mostly out of a disagreement with where their theology (and mine) has evolved along the way. The two of us are still rooted in basic Pentecostal tenets. I just never swallowed claims of “divine authority” now ours to manipulate, higher levels of “spirituality” achieved through faith, this “one-ness” with the Holy Ghost being a condition we swim in at all times. Apologies might be due to the Charismatic bunch, however, in so far as me crediting them for birthing all such thinking in our midst. Thomas Merton, in “The Inner Experience”, speaks of men being able to be “completely transformed into the likeness of Christ, to become, as He is, divinely human” and quotes St. Irenaeus as saying that “God became man in order that man might become God”. Evidently Catholicism has been at least entertaining this idea for much longer than just the last twenty or thirty years. In looking for whom to blame, however, my own finger has always point to “humanity”, in general, not merely the name we hang over the door; and that, understandably, makes me part of the problem as well. Merton avoids my argument, declaring it a “controversy“ dead and done with, earlier contestants having become worn it out trying to determine whether our union made possible through the Resurrection was “acquired” or “infused”, or, in my own words, “permanent” or “temporary”. Yet when I read “the one who contemplates the divine presence is in no position to bring about its manifestation by any effort of his own, nor is he capable of increasing or modifying it by his efforts, and even, in some cases, incapable of preventing it”, surely he makes clear my own perspective, that, while our restored connection with the Creator remains vulnerable only to an “Adamic rejection”, fusion with the flow is a matter of our seeking it, receiving it, returning to it again and again in a stumble down the path following Him. Arrogance doesn’t equate to boldness; and faith, according to the Apostle Paul, works out of love, not mental calisthenics……..