How an Evangelical Learned to Love the Saints

I didn't know about the saints until my thirties but I came by my ignorance honestly.As an Evangelical we didn't talk about the saints. If we did, it was to condemn those idol-worshiping Catholics who named and adorned their places of worship with statues of these long dead heretics.Who prayed to mere men and women in the place of Christ.Who worshiped the dead.(We were rather crude in our assessment.)Now, as a Catholic, I find myself enamored with the holy men and women who … [Read more...]

Shouldn’t Christian Unity Be More Important Than We Make It?

When Jesus prayed, in the Gospel of John, for all future Christians he prayed, "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you."  (John 17:21a)This kind of closeness---this kind of unity---is difficult to imagine.God, as we understand Him, is triune: Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit existing in one and the same Being. One beautiful old hymn reminds us, "The Godhead, three-in-one."This is a closeness we cannot yet fathom.And this is the … [Read more...]

You “Cultural Catholics” Are Killing Me

As I stood in what seemed like the longest line on earth---penance for something, somewhere, I'm sure---I couldn't help but notice the exaggerated golden crucifix hanging around the neck of the nearest cashier.The cashier who ever... so... slowly bagged item after agonizing item for the shoppers ahead of me as if she were a robot whose batteries were just... about... fully... drained.In the twelve eternal minutes I spent waiting, I rolled my eyes so many times I'd be surprised if I h … [Read more...]

It’s Lent: Prepare to be Tempted

One of the ever-bearing gifts of the Catholic Church is incredible depth of her teaching. Spanning over two thousand years the Church boasts incredible thinkers from Augustine to Aquinas; from Henri Nouwen to Cardinal Newman; from St. Francis of Assisi to, one of my personal favourites, St. Francis de Sales.Living and writing some 400 years ago, St. Francis de Sales was Bishop of Geneva at a time of crisis for the Christian Church. He stands out for his poignant responses to the early Pr … [Read more...]

Creflo Dollar Made Me a Catholic

 The prosperity Gospel movement is bizarre given that Jesus was unequivocal about wealth but, like the secular spirituality of many popular American celebrities, the movement soldiers on.While it might be a stretch to say that someone like Creflo Dollar made me a Catholic it would be accurate to say that the possibility of theological interpretations like Dollar's are, in large part, what's driven me in my search for deeper truth.A search which has landed me on the doorstep of … [Read more...]

Why Abstinence from Meat on Fridays Makes Sense

In a Church that celebrates the Rosary, changes its liturgical vestments for every season, and upholds a historic teaching of the Real Presence in the Communion celebration it's not a stretch to call Catholicism a physical faith.That physicality, among other things, remains a serious draw for converts like myself---the tug of a faith which emphasises not just the head and the heart but the hands, too.So it makes sense, especially during the Lenten period, that Catholics are called to … [Read more...]

I’m Giving Up Complaining for Lent (and I Already Hate It)

Every Lent, for the past several years, I've given up complaining.It's liberating.And soul-making.And hard.Complaining is one of those things that just doesn't seem very Christian.Complaint is the salve of the soul, said no saint ever.And although a fairly sufficient argument could be made that Job, one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament, was a voracious complainer he was, likewise, roundly rebuked.By the Almighty, nonetheless.No, complaining does n … [Read more...]

Is the Church Just an Invisible Collection of Believers?

As an Evangelical Christian I understood the "Body of Christ" or "the Church" (capital C) to be an invisible collection of believers.The idea was beautiful, really, because it meant that somehow all Christians across the whole world no matter how important or obscure were connected by Christ into one universal Church.But this isn't how it was understood by Early Christians and when I found that out I was a little alarmed, disappointed, and completely unprepared for what came next. … [Read more...]

I Don’t Know How I Lived Without Coffee

Somewhere in those early days of university I made a definitive choice not to drink coffee.It wasn't hard; anytime I even caught a whiff of the stuff it turned my stomach.It smelled disgusting.I had no interest.But I set my sights against it regardless.While many of my friends were pulling all-nighters and buoying themselves through their early morning classes with caffeine I was groggily drinking my orange juice or plain old water. Even when my good friend James introduced m … [Read more...]

So You Might Be a Heretic…

When Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church he was almost immediately rebuked by his Catholic interlocutors.It was St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, who wrote authoritatively in response to Luther's anti-Church movement---a text which remains one of my favourite treaties on the Catholic faith.Calling Luther's re-interpretations of ancient Catholic doctrines a "novelty" St. Francis took Luther to task for inventing new interpretations … [Read more...]