The Christian Century has an interesting story this week about six Christians and their journeys to Catholicism.
I’m probably asking for trouble here, but I’m interested in hearing from you… after you’ve read the story:
- If you’re a Christian, but not a Catholic, what did you grow up believing about Catholics? Have your views changed?
- If you grew up Catholic, what did you grow up believing about Protestants and other traditions? Have your views changed?
- And finally… how important is it to you to commit yourself fully to a particular demonimation or tradition within the church? I know a lot of “living question marks” who prefer not to don any particular mantle, but would rather leave that question open in case God decides to reveal something further, or differently, to them.
I ask because, in the last few years, many of the things I had been taught by other Protestant Christians about Catholics have proven untrue, and my Catholic friends have been dismayed, but not surprised, by the things I’ve shared with them.
Likewise, I’ve seen some painful blog posts and other writings by Catholics that make gross generalizations about Protestants, roping all of us into the foolishness of some misguided individuals.
There’s a tendency toward patronizing and condescending comments on both sides, and that’s sad, because we all flinch when the mainstream media makes generalizations about Christians.
Full disclosure: I grew up in a Baptist church, and I’m currently a member of a Presbyterian church. But I wouldn’t say I’m a “convert” to any particular Christian tradition. Let’s just say I’m in a “studying” phase regarding the history of the church, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and more. So I’m fascinated by these stories of conversion, education, and conviction. Some of my closest friends are Baptists, some are Presbyterians, and some are devoted to their Episcopalian, Catholic, or Orthodox traditions. Some have converted, and then converted yet again. And I’ve even felt some nudges, even a bit of shoving, in different directions… but I refuse to believe that God wants me to come to any hasty conclusions about this. So I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you.
I’ll say this once and only once: If you comment and share your experience here, I’ll welcome that. But no snarkiness. Please share your experience. And if you comment on other people’s experiences, do so with respect and grace. I will delete responses that even look like they’re going to stir up trouble. If there’s to be a conversation, let’s enjoy it in a community of grace and respect.