Saturday, April 24, 2010


Welcome to Living Truths, a blog about religion, faith, life, and Christianity. You'll notice that I separate religion from Christianity, which I will explain some time down the road. There is an important distinction between the two.

How this blog came about might interest you. In March of 2003 I received an irresistible call to come to Christ. It came in the midst of a personal crisis, and it was unmistakable. The Holy Spirit urged me to proclaim myself in Christ, and I answered by being baptized a week later.

Then, just seven years later my wife, who had prayed for my salvation for nineteen years, died unexpectedly during routine surgery. The details of Lynne's death are set out in other posts on this site, so I won't repeat them here. While Lynne lay in intensive care my law partner, Kerry Morgan, setup a site on, and I began writing about the events surrounding Lynne's death. Since that time, CaringBridge has had 28,000 visits, a number I find astounding.

I decided to start this blog and keep writing about Lynne, and about life, spirituality, Christianity, and how God transforms us during our days here. I think there is a lot to be said about modern Christianity, and about its successes and failures. Some of it you may like, and I suspect that some of it you won't. That's OK.

I named the blog Living Truths because as I have become older, and perhaps a bit wiser, I realized that many people live their lives as mere existence. They don't live life itself. No one teaches us how to live.

In America we have a pretty straightforward model for our lifetimes: go to school, earn some sort of a degree, find employment, marry, raise a family, retire, then die. That's it.

But this is really little more than existing. I call it the economic myth of life. We are told that if we work hard, live life on our own terms, plan, save money, and invest wisely we can have some sort of golden retirement, and will have lived a full and happy life. If we can just accumulate enough money and things we'll be OK.

This model of life is the great American fantasy; it is an illusion and unreal, yet we find this invention driving our conduct and actions almost every single day. But this is not living life. I know. I've done it for years.

Some of the components of the great American myth certainly have value. Marriage and family can be rewarding and fulfilling, but how many people do these things because it is expected or because that is the only model for life they have?

Few people, if any, ever teach us how to live life. We aren't taught how to love, or how to be deeply intimate with a spouse, a child, or a friend. We fear strangers.

Christ calls us to His love and sometimes we make a great show of it, but very often we go through the motions with little, if any internal change. Many Sundays we hear essentially the same message from the pulpit: repent, come to Christ or face Hell, live a holy life, give service to others, and then go to heaven.

Like the American economic myth, this is a model that we try and simulate. However, we rarely succeed. We certainly know people who have a genuine holiness, and we instinctively want to be around those people so we can somehow participate in the grace they exude. But we have such a hard time at being transformed into someone similar to those people despite our desperate wish that we could. We fear our vulnerabilities, and we fear transformation itself. The Bible calls us to be transformed, but how is this accomplished?

This blog is going to discuss living truths, or those truths that enable us to live instead of simply exist. We are going to study the transformation of the person, and learn how we can attain the holiness we see and admire in others. We are also going to study the things that keep us from it.

My own spiritual journey began when I was a very young child. I was raised in a Catholic parish in Louisville, KY, and I have a clear recollection of getting myself up early on school mornings (not every morning, mind you) in first grade to serve the 6 a.m. mass. I have always been drawn to God. I served Mass for several years, and was routinely terrorized by Monsignor Boldrick. I mean this in a loving way, because Msgr. Boldrick was a fierce, no-nonsense priest who expected the Mass to come off without a hitch. If I messed something up during the celebration of the Eucharist I was always corrected, loudly, and that had the effect of utterly mortifying me. Back in those days the altar boys had to hold the Gospel for the priest to read to the laity, and we did this by holding the book itself at the bottom with both hands, and balancing the top of the spine on our forehead. When I did this for Msgr. Boldrick I was so terrified of him that I would shake while holding the book, and he would say, sternly, "Be still!"

On the other hand, I remember the many kindnesses of Father Charles Norris, and the nuns who taught me first and second grades. Many of the people at Church were pious and spiritual, and I felt comfortable there.

Eventually, I fell away from the Church and started pursuing the American myth. In truth, I was living for myself and little else. I did develop a deep passion for reading and writing, and in high school I used to go to the public library downtown and check out stacks of books by the great literary authors. I could not get enough. I ended up majoring in English at the University of Kentucky, but by the time graduation rolled around I believed that I could not make a living as a writer, and went to law school instead. If the truth be told, however, I really didn't have anything to write about.

I followed the model along nicely, and for reasons not clear to me God blessed my law practice. I certainly didn't deserve it. And He blessed me with a godly wife and two great sons. I didn't really deserve that either.

All the while God kept pulling at me in ways I didn't realize. I began studying Eastern philosophies and comparative mythology. I couldn't get enough, and I got pretty far out there. Actually, I got too far. Christ yanked me back in, and brought me to Him.

As I mentioned, that was seven years ago. During that time God has transformed me deeply. I literally and spiritually am a different person than I was before. I have had so many amazing things happen to me. I had never studied the Bible, and now I am in the home stretch for my seminary degree. I have seen the very best and the very worst the Church and religion have to offer. My wife died, and my sons and I are left to live our lives out together. I am still busy practicing law, but I am called to write about God and religion. You can read more about this in the posts I've transferred here from CaringBridge.

My hope is that this has story has some relevance for you, because if God can do this for someone like me He can do it for anyone, including you. He even saves lawyers!

Which brings us to the point of this post. The real transformation of who we are comes from Him, and Him alone. When the Bible tells us to be transformed, it speaks to allowing Christ to change us. Real transformation doesn't come from us, or from something external. It comes from God changing us internally. We have to learn how to open ourselves to that transformation, and that can be hard because it doesn't fit the economic myth of life. But the good news is that there are a lot of ways to get there, and we will talk about that a lot at Living Truths.

God bless everyone, and I look forward to sharing life with you.

Grace and peace,

Mike Breen