The paths that each of us travels to get to wherever we are in our spiritual or religious lives are all unique, though there are, of course, some experiences common to all or most of them.
But in my experience, it's difficult for people who are not either engaged in the profession of religion in some way (as clergy, say, or as an academic who studies religion) to articulate the boundaries of one's path with clarity, humility and winsomeness. Perhaps that's because so many of us live unexamined lives. We float through time and space, unmindful of the eternal questions, the moral dilemmas, the choices that deepen our humanity or, by contrast, diminish it.
So I was both surprised and pleased recently to find an example of a wealthy and well-known person who is able to talk about his faith, his failures and his moral compass with surprising lucidity. Lamar Hunt Jr. (pictured here) was the subject of this terrific story by my former Kansas City Star colleague Eric Adler a few days ago.
Hunt comes from a famous and wealthy family. His grandfather was the eccentric hard-right-winger Texas oil tycoon H. L. Hunt. One of Hunt's sons (he had 15 children by three wives) was Lamar Hunt, who founded the American Football League and was founder and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs. Lamar's son Lamar Jr. was, for a time, a flute player with the Kansas City Symphony. Now he owns the Missouri Mavericks, a minor-league hockey team and is the founder of Loretto Properties, LLC, a real estate investment company.
More to the point of Eric's story, Lamar Hunt Jr. is now a Catholic and lives with deep Catholic sensibilities and commitments, which include an appreciation of the need for forgiveness.
“We’re all sinners,” he told Eric. “We all need help at different times in our lives. Everybody does.” Including him. In the story, Hunt talks about what Eric calls "a sexual encounter he had with a sister-in-law that -- to the shame and consternation of the Hunt family -- became public in 1999. . ."
Somehow he and the other Hunts made it through that and other family traumas and pain and found his way into the Catholic Church. (By the way, his half-sister, June Hunt, is a radio evangelist who is quite popular with Christians who would identify themselves as evangelical or conservative.)
As Lamar Hunt Jr. told Eric, “Loving God, and loving your neighbor, that would be my orientation. That would be my desire for my life.”