Welcome to Reality Café

Greetings and welcome! Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, atheist, agnostic, New Age, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Vatican II Catholic, traditional Catholic, or not sure, you are welcome here, and I care about you. Having come to believe in God (by God’s grace), I believe God loves us just the way we are (check out Romans 5:8), but I also believe He loves us too much to leave us that way (since none of us has yet become all we’re meant to be).

womancryingAnyone who’s been living on this planet for a few years has discovered that amidst the many joys of life there are also many disappointments, failures, pain, and suffering. There are people I care deeply about all over the world who struggle with one or more of the following: doubt, guilt, anxiety and/or depression, physical or mental illness or disability, poverty, unemployment, career failures or other reversals of fortune, addictions (drug, alcohol, sexual, etc.), failed marriages, abortions, children born out of wedlock, children who have committed suicide or who have abandoned the beliefs and values with which they were raised, incarceration for crime, a destroyed reputation … the list could go on and on.

My heart goes out to each and every one of them, as well as to all people who are tormented by any of these things but whom I’ve never met.

silhouettekneelingWithout wishing to sound superficial or glib, I do believe — and know, from my own 57 years of lived experience — that in the midst of our sufferings there can nevertheless be serenity, security, and genuine emotional and spiritual healing and wholeness. And I believe that true, deep, lasting happiness, both here and hereafter, is only achieved when our hearts and minds — our entire lives — are freely, fully, and finally conformed to God’s mind and will.

I understand that you may not believe that yet. Come on in to Reality Café with an open mind, and let’s talk!

The Reality Café Dream

For many people, “religion” has left a bad taste in their mouth. They see a world where people wage war over their conflicting beliefs, where injustice seeks to justify itself theologically, where suffering is inflicted in the name of an unfeeling god. And “church” too often carries connotations of cruelty, condemnation, and corruption, heartlessness and hypocrisy, and other toxic attitudes and behavior.

By contrast, a café or restaurant — a place where you can gather with family or friends to enjoy your favorite food, laugh and engage in animated conversation, celebrate life, share your latest joys and struggles with people you trust and you know care about you, and generally have a great and memorable time — has a universal appeal.

restaurant1I recently had a dream in which someone gave me several million dollars to open a chain of restaurants named Reality Café, in big cities and small towns alike, where people of all beliefs or none could come together to discuss in a friendly and honest fashion the Big Questions of Life: who we are, where we came from, where we’re going, and how we can find happiness, meaning, and fulfillment in our lives.

The concept of Reality Café was that you (and any friends you might wish to invite) could come into a warm and welcoming environment, order your favorite food and drink, and it would be “on the house,” so long as you were willing to engage in a delightful discussion — fragrant with friendliness, tasty with truth, sizzling with sagacity, seasoned with wit — with select dinner companions. The discussion, or series of discussions, would seek to authentically advance you, in a structured, step-by-step fashion, from wherever you were in your beliefs (or non-belief) to wherever you need to be.

The conversation would proceed from the “appetizer” phase to the “soup and/or salad” phase, then on to the first main course, the second course, and so forth, culminating in the top-it-all-off final dessert-like dénouement. (For a more detailed explanation of that sequence, please see this website’s August 14 and 15 blog posts on “So Is Reality a Café or a Baseball Diamond?”, Parts 1 and 2.)

cafe2While I’m waiting for that multi-million-dollar donation to drop into my lap to make my restaurant-chain dream a reality, in the meantime this website seeks to be the online equivalent of such an idea-ingesting experience. Although (alas!) I cannot yet provide the literal culinary content, I do hope to serve up a literary likeness thereof, an appealing banquet of belief-themed conversations that can gently, lovingly, respectfully, yet purposefully lead each of us (myself included) toward an ever more coherent, consistent, authentic, and rewarding grasp of reality.

Bon appétit!

Best wishes for your happiness now and always,
Gerry Matatics