In These Signs Conquer

Hat tip to Radical Catholic Mom for this link to a witty ecumencial dialogue for Ash Wednesday. Check out this conversation between Baptist, Catholic and Pentecostal.

It reminds me of a story I heard about a Baptist pastor who was exploring more liturgical stuff with his congregation. Before Christmas he introduced them to Advent, had some candles and a procession, then he heard about Ash Wednesday. This attracted him, but things got messy because he just took some ashes from the fireplace and dumped them on people’s heads. So he asked the Catholic priest where the ashes came from. When he was told that they are produced by burning the leftover palms from the previous Palm Sunday he said, “Wow! all this Catholic stuff is connected!”

Quite.

I’ve often made the point that the most fruitful kind of dialogue between Catholics and Protestants is not really with Anglicans and Lutherans, but with Evangelicals. This clever sign swap makes my point.

The reason Catholics can connect with Evangelicals more than mainstream Protestants is that both Evangelicals and Catholics believe in a revealed religion, not a relative religion. Mainstream Protestantism basically understands the Christian faith to be a human construct that must be altered by human beings according to the intellectual and social fashions of the day. Catholicism and conservative Evangelicalism regard the faith as divinely revealed, with obedience being the human response. Catholics and Evangelicals can have some pretty heated debates, but that’s because they believe passionately in a revealed religion.

In contrast, those who think Christianity is a human construct aren’t even in the same arena.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking as an Evangelical standing on the bank of the Tiber and praying I’ll survive the crossing, I think you are right!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    anonymous. Drop me a line if you would like to talk! You will find encouragement and confidentiality, but no pressure.


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