Because of the Diamond in the Middle of the Road

Posted by Webster 
I went to a Christmas party last night and spent the first hour talking about religion with a professed atheist and a cradle Catholic who has fallen away from the Church. How do you get such a three-way conversation started at a Christmas party that’s not especially religious? Easy. You drop a stink-bomb in front of the atheist by asking the cradle Catholic if he has read your blog.

Cradle Catholic: You have a blog?!
Webster (nodding): Roger.
Cradle Catholic: What’s it called?
Webster: Why I Am Catholic.
Atheist (look of incredulity): You what?
Webster: Yeah, that’s my blog.
Atheist (did I say look of incredulity?): You’re kidding, right?
Webster: I’m serious as death.
Atheist: When did you become a Catholic?

You would have thought I had made a loud, socially inappropriate noise.

But good things can come of such awkward moments. And as the conversation wound its way out of the thicket of embarrassment onto the open road of discourse, the Atheist clearly outlined three arguments against the Catholic Church: (1) It is ruled with an iron fist by a powerful bureaucracy. (2) It has been plagued by scandal. (3) It is nothing more than an answer to man’s unconscious needs—the old Marxian “opiate of the people” thing.

Whereupon, I had my glittering moment. I said, “There’s need and there’s truth. Truth is truth, regardless of what man’s needs may be. If there is a diamond in the middle of the road, it doesn’t matter what anyone is doing in the road. The jewelers can be corrupt. The diamond merchants can be guilty of horrible abuses. And people can lust after the diamond or they can ignore it altogether. It’s still a diamond.”

I knew I was making some sense because eventually the cradle Catholic came awake and moved slowly but sincerely to my defense. CC, an artist, took note of the passion with which I was speaking. CC said that whatever you thought of my argument, you had to admire my passion.

A bit further on, the Atheist as much as said, “Well, you can’t convert me.” Whereupon I threw my arms around CC and said to the Atheist, “I’m not concerned with you. I’m working on him.

As he went out the door, the cradle Catholic reminded me that I once had promised to take him to a Benedictine abbey to hear the monks sing. I smiled and said, “My bad. We’ll do it soon, brother.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11978887767364916126 Gorgasal

    Nice! Thanks for sharing this!Unfortunately, depending on one's surroundings, talking about one's Catholic faith *can* be a "socially unacceptable noise"…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02491084930433319172 Mike

    Oh that is great! I'll be looking for the post about you and CC at the abbey "Because of Singing Monks"! :-)

  • Webster Bull

    Yeah, Mike, I've put myself on the spot now!

  • Anonymous

    Warren Jewell, here.I have been that 'CC' and too many times! You have a triumph of the Holy Spirit coming. He will guide you until He catches His beloved. Just let Him guide you. What a great Christmas 'garb-bag' gift you got, to be able to 'blog' face-to-face, and bring a soul so very near our Divine Infant. Just be that 'diamond' to wish to possess in example and gentle encouragement; keep in touch; and, then, re-attend RCIA with him.All see and hail the glory of our God. Truly He opened your lips, and you proclaimed His praise.God be with you and yours, and also with Frank and his, if we do not get to wish each other a great and holy Christmas before the Lord's Incarnational day.

  • Webster Bull

    Warren,When Frank and I organize a YIMC World Tour, the first stop will be Chicago, I promise! :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00192810527400675197 ductapeguy

    So often when sharing our faith, by words or deed, we are called to 'plant a seed'. Who knows how or when the Holy spirit will call forth that seed to sprout.

  • Anonymous

    By taking on these two in this situation, you reminded me of the Docker's new ad campaign! They're trying to sell pants of course, but you are doing the modern equivalent of defending someone's (Holy Mother Church) honor. How knightly of you!

  • Anonymous

    Further, briefly, from the mind of Warren Jewell . . .I will be only too honored and pleased to meet you. It would be grand to offer prayer together.BTW, my very last name refers to the Lord's faceting and polishing me as His masterpiece of a diamond – in my heart and soul, mind and sprit, if not out on the road.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01781744767513686930 hal

    The Atheist had more potential to find what he must have been seeking than the luke-warm fall away. You threw your arms around the wrong man.

  • Webster Bull

    Hal,I have no idea how you can make that judgment on the information provided. First, the Atheist was a SHE, so I threw my arms around the ONLY man. Second, I told HER that if she would give me a year of her life, I would guarantee that she would become a Catholic. All she would need to do was read the life of one female saint per week, for 52 weeks, from the 1st century to the 20th. But then I said, "You won't give me the year." The CC, the he, is deeply Catholic, but like many in our generation (baby boomers), the post-Vatican II firestorm of confusion left him wondering what the Church is really about. He only needs to return once to that pure experience of his youth and he will be a Catholic again. Which is why I plan to take him to hear the monks sing. I would be interested to understand your point of view better than I do.

  • http://blog.ckcsons.com/april-birthstone-diamond/2009/12/ Margaret

    Very well written article. It will instill faith in everyone's mind. Thanks for sharing a worth reading article here.

  • Anonymous

    What happened to the gauntlet?

  • Webster Bull

    Anon, Not sure I get it. You mean, gauntlet rather than stink-bomb? If so, I always go for the "fresh" image! :-)


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