About Me

I am a father of two wonderful boys living in Wisconsin, USA.  I was born and am a Roman Catholic, but my faith journey has taken a very circuitous route.  Despite having wonderful parents as role models and the privilege of receiving an outstanding  Jesuit education during my college years, I drifted away from the church during my early adult years.  It was not just that I had increasing concerns about the institutional Church (although that was true), I had serious doubts about the core doctrines of Christianity, beginning with the existence of God.

During these years of exile, which lasted almost 20 years, I focused on my career and worldly success.  My belief system, to the extent I thought about it, varied from agnosticism to a vague Deism (with a dash of Ayn Rand’s objectivism thrown in for good measure).

As I approached middle-age, I had an increasing sense of anxiety.  From an outsider’s perspective, I was living an ideal life:  great job, great wife and children, good health, financial security.  However, internally, I was exceptionally restless.

I went on a spiritual journey, studying the beliefs and practices of five major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism), starting with the most basic questions of: is there a God and if so, what is the nature of God?  This quest has given my tremendous respect for all of the faith traditions, but ironically, I came back to my original Catholic faith, albeit in a much different light.  Key influences in my ultimate journey back home were Jesuit writers and teachers, especially Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and a deeper understanding of Ignatian Spirituality.

Today, I am a proud Roman Catholic.  I try to eschew labels as I consider them divisive.  Hence, you will not hear me say that I am a (fill-in-the-blank) traditional, progressive, orthodox, liberal, conservative Catholic.  I believe that Catholicism is universal, and demands a way of life that is inclusive (both/and, not either/or).  If others were to label me, I would likely be accused of being too conservative for “liberal” Catholics and too liberal for “conservative” Catholics.

My ultimate goal however, is to move beyond labels.  I still have problems with the institutional Church but I believe that Christianity, and especially the Catholic Church with its deep history, traditions and emphasis on reason, offers the best description of the ultimate reality (or as William O’Malley, S.J. describes it, the “least leaky boat”).  I believe that Teilhard de Chardin had the right ideas of staying true to his faith, including his vows of obedience at tremendous personal cost, while pushing the Church to embrace new insights into the nature of God and Christ.

I have created this blog as a vehicle to share my personal journey, promote what the Church is doing for science and highlighting scientific and theological ideas that are consistent with orthodox understanding but also take into account new scientific and other discoveries.

I hope that you will join me on this journey and share your experiences and contribute your ideas.

W. Ockham

96 Responses to About Me

  1. Andrew R Sparks says:

    William,
    I have recently discovered Teilhard via Fr. Richard Rhor readings.
    Teilhard’s theology has impacted my life in so many positive ways.
    I would like to thank you for your labors on your web site. Your site
    has been of enormous help in my understanding of Teilhard and in
    turn in my spiritual journey.
    I will pray for your journey to be fruitful.
    Blessing, Andrew

    • Andrew, thank you for the kind words. Richard Rohr has been a big influence on my spiritual journey and I am glad to hear that Fr. Rohr and Teilhard have been influential in yours. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to share your experiences.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

      • I have just watched the 1 1/2 panel discussion about Teilhard. It was amazing – so well done and so much thought has gone into what was presented and into the subsequent exchanges which were very considerate and respectful even as they represented different fields. Thank you.

  2. Cate says:

    Your journey into and back out of exile is very similar to mine—and I suspect to the journeys of many thousands and millions. Through all my decades of seeking, Teilhard, whom I first encountered in my early 20s, remained as a beacon of reason and hope, sometimes dimmed but never failing in the darkness. What a thrill to come back to him now in my 60s, to rediscover his truth afresh in the light of a lifetime of experience, and to find so much interest in him online, including this excellent blog of yours. Thank you, and bless you for sharing. 🙂

  3. Gregg says:

    W,

    I don’t think that stands for George W Bush, does it?

    Anyway, I don’t see a “contact us” type of link on this site so please contact me at greggMKE@gmail.com

    BTW, am likewise from Wisconsin and went to Jesuit university, where I was able to take the “Theology of Teilhard de Chardin” course by Thomas King, SJ

    Thanks and hasta pronto,

    GreggMKE

  4. Fr. Frank Schuster says:

    Dear Mr. Ockham,
    I was doing a web search today on Teilhard and ran into your blog. I noticed you referenced a homily I gave at my parish for Corpus Christi. That made me smile. I hope you are having a good day:)
    Peace
    Fr. Frank Schuster

  5. John says:

    The idea that a Catholic can entertain Rand’s ideas and the ideas of Jesus Christ is absurd.

  6. willbearak says:

    For those having a hard time, especially in our modern society, just get a RED LETTER edition of Bible (or just New [now old] Testament), where Jesus’s words, copied by the evangelists (scribes) will fill you and make your life content with his teaching and following, Down through the ages much has been said, written, and done in the name of Jesus, Paul, Abraham, Moses, Solomon Augustine, Jerome, Constantine, Thomas, and others that have drastically changed the course of Christianity, Jewish, Islamic religions and the spirituality each follow. Peter had a son, the one Jesus loved, Mark John, and he was a scribe, writing at a early age and possibly also at a long accumulated history, the life and comings of the Man called Jesus. In Mark we see early point for point the facts and actions of Jesus, In John we see the sense and construct of the meanings of Jesus after the Jewish Sect called Christianity has taken roots. In Matthew and Luke we see commentaries on the life and times of Man called Jesus. So reading and listening to the RED LETTER writings we get a great insight into “The Man called Jesus”, his meaning, teachings and movement of His life as related to (The Father) under the rule and occupation of the Romans and Herodians.

  7. willbearak says:

    William: There is another real great way to look at your being a Catholic, and also using the tools that the Jesuits gave you like the daily “EXAM”. Recall that much of the Jesus sayings in scripture come about from very hard questions that the Apostolic and Disciplic followers constantly asked Jesus. They seemed to be a group of very inquisitive fellows (and some women); and Jesus’s answers or discourses were quite intense, even to rebuking with very harsh words some of their answers back at Jesus “Get behind me Satan”. Questions like “who is the Father (God)?; recall Jesus’s answer, About the children? And very important, “What do we have to do to follow you into or to the kingdom?” recall Jesus’s answer turned the stomach’s of most of His followers and they then left His accompaniment.. When you see Jesus in the eyes of the Romans and Herodians, there was one enormous event (which if happened to you) turned Jesus and some of his followers into a (as Rome saw Him) one of Israel’s most dreaded and eventually wanted Terrorist, sought out by all the rulers including His own religious leaders. Pierre Teilhard de chardin SJ. was one of my teachers, and his focus on the ONE (omega point in time) that Jesus would present to His Father all of mankind, the world, the universe; gives us all a great modern concept and consciousness of Man and his God in creation.

  8. Wolkowski says:

    Title available from Amazon.com catalog:
    Tell hard de Chardin: the spirit and the letter.
    Best regards
    Wolkowski
    Sorbonne universites upmc

  9. Hi William

    My name is Azriel and I work with UPLIFT, a non-commercial organization dedicated to sharing positive, inspiring news and stories with a global audience. You can see our site here: http://www.upliftconnect.com We enjoyed your piece “The Noosphere Part III:Future evolution of the noosphere” and were interested in re-blogging it for our UPLIFT audience.

    We would credit you and provide links back to your website and the original article. Let me know if you would be OK with this or if you have any questions.

    kind regards,
    Azriel
    azriel@uplift.global

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