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April 17, 2011

Into the final stretch

It’s Palm Sunday, we are one week away from completing our journey to the Catholic Church. We studied the creed Thursday which was actually pretty good, I enjoyed the history lesson and the story behind both the Apostles and the Nicene. It was good have to a class that stuck to the basics. But the other parts of the RCIA have really started to heat up, we have been told now at least 10 times what to wear on Easter Sunday. The schedule is so convoluted and twisted that I just gave up, and Michelle is in charge of making sure I show up at the right time at the right place (at least I know what to wear!).

Had it not been for our discussion with Fr Chuey, I would have stopped this ride on thursday night and just given up. Michelle has expressed the same frustration with the process that I have, we have been treated like 10 year olds from the very start. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I can count on one hand the times we actually learned something deeper than an RCIC class would get. I’m pretty sure that after about the 3rd lecture on what to wear everyone (who is over 18) would have gotten the message of what to wear on Easter!, seriously! perhaps talking more about the REVERENCE for the Mass, and WHY we are there would accomplish the same goals.

So today we go to mass (our last as interlopers! ;), then we have a ‘retreat’ that lasts most of the day. To give you an idea of our mindset at the moment, we are honestly thinking that this retreat will just be another “How does that make you feel?” exercise, and have nothing to do with what we do next Sunday. When RCIA becomes about the how, and NOT about the why, you start to lose people. Honestly, as bad as this sounds. We just want to get it over, so we can finally worship at the Eucharist. We have friends who feel the same, the RCIA process has become a circus of ceremony, and the middle we feel lost and alone.

Last week marked one year since Michael Spencer (aka the Internet Monk) passed away, I know this seems like an odd statement to make while lamenting the RCIA process. But go with me on this, I found Michael Spencer at the suggestion of a fellow theology student. At the time we where searching for a home church. When I started reading his works, I was floored. Here is someone who understands why I don’t trust ‘Church People’, who understands the pain of someone who doesn’t measure up to fundamentalist standards. Who saw the evangelical circus for what is was, and didn’t mince words. I found Michael too late, he was already sick when I ran across his site and he passed away before I ever got to meet him. Michael’s wife Denise converted to Catholicism a few years back, and it was his writings on the Catholic faith that made me curious. He could never leave his baptist upbringing, but he did find the same reverence that we have found in the normal Catholic services.

Neither Michelle or I, would be here at all. If not for Michaels ability to say it like it is, to express the pain and frustration that we went through. Our road to rome really started with a minister who himself could not get past infant baptism, or the marian doctrines. But he loved Catholics, the same that he loved any of the other faiths. I guess you could say our journey to rome, started with a baptist preacher. And that’s a pretty amazing thought, at times we have felt compelled to do this, while I am frustrated at this point of the RCIA process. I desperately want to be on the other side and be a full member. I want to sign up for the Eucharistic ministry, and spend some time server the Church. And more than anything else, I want to reach out to Protestants interested in the Catholic Church and show them the depth and reverence of what it means to be Catholic.

Thank you God, for your Grace. For your church, and for using men like Michael Spencer to show us a way out of the Post-Evangelical Wilderness. I just want this to all be over, so I can share in the Eucharist. We have waited a long time, we are parched and tired. Next Sunday cannot come quickly enough…


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