So this past Saturday, I got invited out to a home on Vashon Island for an interesting and beautiful event. A young couple who had made their way through a number of Protestant traditions and recently become Catholic decided to host an event at their home in which various folks from Catholic and Evangelical traditions came together and talk about “What is Church?: A Conversation Among Family” They have a beautiful piece of property nestled out in the woods. The day was lovely, so they cooked a big meal outside (I had missed breakfast and the smell was heavenly: fresh flat bread with olive oil and salt and big ol’ haunches of pork roasting on a spit. Yum!)
My pal Marcus Daly (whose work people are dying to get into) met me at the dock, took me back to his place to meet the fambly and then we all made the haj over to the Sheards, who were throwing the shindig.
It was really a splendid time. People from different Christian traditions who spoke to and about each other with real affection. Lots of kids running around. Good food. And instead of talking about sports and the weather, we had an actual conversation about the things that really matter. They asked me to come give a talk about Sacred Tradition (essentially a boiled-down summary of By What Authority?) and another fellow named Mike (I didn’t catch his last name) gave a talk about his experience as an Evangelical. He was an Israelite in whom there is no guile and I took a shine to him immediately. Lovely man. Afterwards, I wound up talking to a fellow for maybe 45 minutes. He has a lot of questions about Marian stuff and Purgatory, so I did my best to field them (unfortunately, Mary, Mother of the Son is out of print at present or I would have just handed him that. Pray I can get it back in print, please).
Anyway, the day was a huge success and the Sheards, who put it on, were very happy, as was I. They are already mulling another such adventure. I think Catholics and Evangelicals who like each other should try the same thing. It was *really* wonderful hearing people connecting at such a real level without the assistance of TV or video games to substitute for actual conversation.
Give it a whack! All you really need is food, a common prayer (the Lord’s prayer works fine) and a some topic to discuss–not fight over–in an atmosphere of love and respect. Well done, Sheards and Dalys!