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Archive for September, 2010


Things Heard In The RCIA (and other statements that make me go ugh).

We attended our second RCIA this week, it was interesting, a little disappointing and a little frustrating. Let me see if I can articulate…

First Fr. Len gave about an hour talk on the history of the Church, he did a good job considering that he had to cover 2000 years in an hour. He talked about Luther and the reformation, he was fair and balanced and I was pretty happy with the whole thing. What irritated me was someone asked him why they become Catholic over any other protestant religion, I’m going to sin here for a second so hang on.


Would you ask the Ford salesman why you should buy a Ford over a Chevy and decide your fate based on that conversation??, if your looking for someone to give you all the answers then your an idiot and you might as well just sit there and sit on your hands and not say a word, because *some* of us actually want to understand WHAT the Catholic Church actually teaches BEFORE we commit to anything.

You see in the book of Acts, Paul was preaching the word in Berea and the Bereans they took every word he said and went home and checked it against the scriptures (the old testament), the key here is that they didn’t just believe, they checked, they asked, they made sure that they understood before they believed. It’s important for anyone to make sure they understand what they are believing before they believe it, a few scriptures to make my point:

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline.

Luke 10:27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

The point is that if you are going to make a decision about your faith and your standing with God, should you not be careful about how to make such a decision. Would you buy a boat for a 3 year journey and just rely on what the salesman tells you??, if so, then head on out. I’ll be standing at the dock watching you leave and hoping you don’t sink. We have a society of idiots in this country, we get our news in little controlled tidbits, we don’t want to be bothered with doing the hard work, it’s all about what we can get now. We want others to tell us we are OK, because it’s too damn hard to make up our own minds. The American spirit is gone, it’s been replaced by this apathetic mentality that just grates me the wrong way.

All that being said, Fr Len did a good job with a bad question, how could he answer?. So he took the same path I would have taken and said it’s a decision and *he* personally thinks that the Catholic Church has the right of it.

The second thing that happened is something that I see a great deal of with people who are teachers, they have a propensity to want to create social situations. So in our RCIA class they had a list of questions like:

Tell about a time you know God was speaking to you
What are you looking to find in the Catholic Church

Those questions are meant to be answered in a group, well I have kind of have an issue with that. I’m there to learn about how the Catholic Church functions, what it believes, what it’s theology is. Not socialize, certainly if I join I’ll be joining a large family. But right now I have problems with that family and I’m more interested in answers than hearing about someones personal accounts that have *nothing* to do with the topic at hand. If I wanted to socialize I would go a church event, I’m there to learn, so do away with the touchy feely and let’s get down to business. I have no patience for anything else, in fact one of the reasons that I hate going to Church is that for us, it becomes about how to avoid being accosted while trying to figure out what they believe. At one church there was a woman who followed my Daughter into the bathroom and waited for her so she could find out all about the new people, that’s more than a little creepy. Of course we didn’t last long at that church, so much for other peoples privacy :)

So it’s a mixed bag right now, I’m still reading like crazy, Francis Beckwith has probably the best book I have ever read on converting to Catholicism. Hands down, it’s rich and informative and has spurred me on to keep reading. I’m also getting some static from my Hermeneutics class about my conversion process, some good points have been raised and I’m having to study to figure this out. I will say that once a Protestant is anti-Catholic it’s hard to have a level discussion with them. They stop being irenic whether they mean to or not, it’s a shame, but it’s also human nature. I have the same reaction to Calvinism, it’s a heresy that should be stamped out, so I guess I’m not any better 😉

That’s all I can muster today…




Why Catholicism? – Part 1

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, why go down the road to Rome, why even consider it?

First before we consider the Roman Catholic Church (or RCC from here on out), let’s talk about the current state of Protestant religion, because it’s here that so many are now leaving and looking for an alternative.

According to the current numbers there are around 30,000 different Protestant denominations in this country alone, and more and more are being created every day. Even the Church of England has split into factions, some holding to the traditional values and others becoming more like the world around them. It’s gotten so bad that the Anglican church in Rwanda has started to send missionary’s to America to help heal our fractured state.

To make matters more complex and dark, there are fringe elements that have gone mainstream. Southern Baptist ministers who’s brand of fundamentalism would be funny if it were not so dangerous, the recent media circus with a congregation and pastor making a political statement by threatening to burn Koran’s is just the tip of the iceberg (and now we have copy cats). You have a new breed of Calvinist who think that the 5 point system isn’t enough, they want to be more hardcore. There are the young earth creationist, they are a special breed all to themselves, I know. I’ve been around them, it’s not about actually thinking through the question around creation and Genesis, it’s a dog and pony show to make new believers. Heaven help you if you challenge any of their notions, you’ll find out quickly that if you don’t hold to their line of thinking you simply can’t be a real christian.

Church after church is splitting, fighting is nonstop and the congregation shallow in their belief. Even within denominations one church will not fellowship with another, because they don’t hold the same exact belief. No one can agree on anything, and everyone is right. It’s a battleground and the bodies being left behind are people who simply wanted to know God better. We call that place the post-evangelical wasteland, it’s a dark and lonely place. We are sick of the fighting, the arguing and the shallowness.

Then there’s the issue of depth, there is a myth that if you just read the bible you will be all right. Everything you need is right there, you don’t need theology. Who needs historical context, or systematic theology?, just read your bible. It’s frightening that so many believers don’t even understand the basic concepts of Justification, the incarnation or that most of them are Pelagius in belief.

Hosea 4:6 – My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

Churches have become training camps more for soldiers going to war with other faiths than they are for actually teaching the word of God, and anything that has the appearance of being christian is brought in without a second look. No one’s checking anything anymore, I’ve personally seen Pastors who purposely hid portions of a teaching series because they where far to embarrassing for even worldly people, so instead of being honest they simply skim over the garbage and present the rest as Gospel.

Michael Spencer, the late Internet Monk predicted that there was a collapse coming for the Evangelical church and I think he’s right. More and more evangelicals are leaving their faith and looking for something that’s stable, something where there is depth and understanding about our faith. They want the ancient, the original tried and true versions of Christianity. The liturgical faiths like Anglican, Reformed, Lutheran and Methodist are starting to see new people showing up, and for quite a time now the Catholic Church has been seeing converts. it’s happening all over, people are getting up and leaving and looking, some simply never find anything and go away for good. Others work through a number of faiths until they find one that fits their needs.

I’ll detail more about my journey and the personal side of in the next installment, but bear this in mind. In my RCIA class (Catholic Conversion Class for Adults) there are 80 people who are signing up, 80! that’s more than some churches have as a total of members. And they are coming from all walks of life, the exodus is starting and whether God is calling them out, or they are just sick of all the nonsense, I’m not sure. But I’ve met and am meeting more and more of them all the time.

I think Michael Spencer was right and I think it’s happening faster than anyone can imagine.

More to come



Road To Rome Update Sept 11, 2010

It’s been a busy week, we met Wednesday night with Mary Wax from Holy Apostles in meridian. We spent a good hour with her talking about my concerns and getting started in the RCIA process, which by coiincidence started the very next night. It wasn’t what I was expecting, which isn’t bad but it’s going to take me a bit to work through it all. RCIA seems to be more about the how, rather than the why. While I need to figure out the how, I’m vastly more interested in the why, the theology, the history of Catholicism and the parts of protestantism that don’t make sense when compared to Catholicism.

I’ve started reading Scott Hahn, and Karl Keating. The more I read, the more I’m having to re-think everything, Justification and the Covenant’s are foundational to Luther’s cry of ‘Sola Fide’ and actually foundational to almost all protestant faiths. But what if Luther got it wrong?, what if Hahn is right and the concept of both “Sola Fide” and Justification through the cross are different than what we have been taught all our lives?

That’s a deep question that has all kinds of ramifications, and I’m starting now to see that the idea that we exchange our sin for Christ’s righteousness may not be what I was taught. The Catholic concept of confession at confirmation starts to make sense, because what if by Grace I’m accepted into God’s family. Accepted as a child of the father through Jesus but still need to deal with my past sins?

I don’t have answers yet, but I’m digging and I’ll share as I go along.

Some time spent in prayer and doing some bible study will help, Mary explained about the Adoration Chapel on the grounds of the church. I’m going to take my Bible, do some reading and some heartfelt praying. If Hahn is right, and I suspect he is. Then everything I’ve known or thought I knew is wrong and I have to start over from scratch, it’s a scary thought and not something I want to go through right now. But I’m not sure what choice I have.



Site Update Coming Soon

So this year I’m back in school after 20 years (nothing like being a 47 year old in a classroom full of students just starting out in college), I have a huge project going on at work, I’m starting a class on Bibliology and Hermeneutics with Michael Spencer later this month, and I’m converting (albeit slowly) or checking out the Roman Church.

So the site has been neglected a bit, I’m going to start spending a couple hours a week updating the site, getting more content online and keeping up to date with my Roman Journey. I’ll do a bio shortly and some pics,
now that I have a reliable laptop and a 3G wireless on my Droid I can update from anywhere… WOOT!!!

I love technology :)



More thoughts on my road to rome…

I am a digger, I have a need to know things and (good or bad) I rarely trust any one person, when it comes to issues of faith I get even more critical.
As I start this journey to see where the Roman road takes me, I’m doing research (lots of it, I had my kindle and my NET bible out today digging).

The key issues I have today with Catholicism are as follows:

  • Marian Theology
  • Perpetual Virginity Of Mary
  • Praying to the saints for intercession
  • Pergatory

The other issues I can deal with, I’ve already pretty much settled the following:

  • Peter as the first pope
  • The Apocrypha and it’s place in the canon
  • The Catholic Church as the original church
  • Catholic authority on scripture
  • Transubstantiation

I’ve been reading some very good books written by Evangelicals who have converted to Catholicism, here is the current list:

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic – By David Currie

For me this book has been a complete eye opener, he uses language I’m familiar with and does a very good job showing where the Catholic Church is right on so many issues, I didn’t buy the perpetual virginity argument, that’s not to say he’s wrong. I just need more evidence and research (there’s more out there), undoubtedly the Church Fathers believed in the PV of Mary, but I have to question whether it’s fact or wishful thinking. Bear in mind that Marriage is a God ordained institution and that sex in marriage is considered holy, so if Mary had other children she would still be fully holy and worthy.

What Catholics Really Believe – By Karl Keating

Ok Book, not what I expected, it doesn’t really cover many topics I’m interested in and doesn’t go into the depth that Currie does, it may grow on me yet.

On Being Catholic – Thomas Howard

A good book, it’s an interesting read. It was the first book I read on conversion. It hasn’t full sunk in yet, but the writing is very good. I just wish he would spend more time hammering home his ideas in more detail. But for those searching it’s a good start.

There are also some great sites that contain conversion stories, the best one I’ve found is here: Convert Journal, great stories to read, I’ve been through almost all of them and found most people on the same road that I’m on.

All good resources…

I am noticing a trend, almost all of the people who convert like I do, end up doing a great deal of research. Sometimes taking years, but all go into this decision very thoughtfully and once there, grow in their faith. It’s essentially what I’m doing and what I did when I ran into Double Predestination, I researched until I settled that Calvin, Beza and the reformed followers are wrong (another post for another time). But this feels very different, I feel called, I can’t explain it better than that. The more I look the more I feel the pull…

This last Sunday we attended Mass at Holy Apostle in Meridian Idaho, Michelle led the way in and sat in the middle of the pews!!, I wanted to hide in the back. I was nervous because I felt like an interloper, I did enjoy Mass very much and thought the Father did a great job. But during the Eucharist I stayed seated, I should have gone up for a blessing but when your already nervous the last thing you want to do is go up. We did contact the Church about the RCIA program and if I could meet with the Father at some point, I know he’s busy but I have questions before I even get started. This is all new to me and when you have heard SOOO many bad things, you can’t help but be apprehensive.

So I’m hoping this week they contact us and we can setup a time, I’ll keep attending Mass, but I’ll hide somewhere in the back!!! :)

The Journey Continues…