You Have Entered the Chick Zone
St. Peter told us to always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within you. Today I performed at an outdoor local festival in our town. Right next to the performance tent was a stand set up by a local baptist church ("We Preach the Bible, The Blood and the Blessed Hope" is their trademark statement) for the purpose of spreading the gospel and giving out free bottled water with a gospel message on it. I had a half an hour to kill before the first act was over so I sauntered over to their stand. I perused their tracts noting the "This Was Your Life" tract prominently displayed. Normally, I am fairly keyed-up before a gig and in my "performance mode" and can't talk much but I started chatting with the two women at the stand. We started talking about the Bible and when I asked them how they knew their interpretation of the Bible was the correct one, they called their pastor over and he took over.
Twilight Zone Music here..... I had now entered the Chick Zone. I spent the next twenty minutes attempting to refute the usual mythology about Catholicism directed at me once I identified myself as a Catholic. The pastor quoted Colossians and inferred that I was following the tradition of men rather than the Word of God (I assumed he meant the NT ). I gently reminded him that the "Word of God" (NT) was not yet formally canonized as the Word of God at that time that Colossians was written. I also mentioned that Paul told Timothy to take heed to the traditions that were handed down to him therefore, how do we know which ones should be disregarded as the "tradition of men?" He seemed a little frustrated that I didn't understand that the traditions that should be disregarded are ones he disagreed with, but the ones Paul told Timothy to accept were the ones in accord with his interpretation of the NT that wasn't yet available when Paul told Timothy to heed tradition! He then changed the subject and started telling me we were "saved by grace through faith, a gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast", to which I heartily Amen'd him.
Finally, he looked me in the eye and told me I would have to stand before God someday and give an account to the Lord for what I believed. I gently looked at him in the eye and said politely; "Yes, Pastor and you too will also have to stand before God someday and give an account for what you believe." He didn't argue with me about that though I suspect he thought I would be the pitiful lost soul of the Chick Tract standing before the throne of judgment as the faceless God sent me to the pit. Only by His grace will any of us stand before him and hear "well done good and faithful servant."
My better half, Prodigal Daughter, gave her testimony to one of the women at the stand explaining what led her to convert to Catholicism after 15 years as an evangelical. She talked about the theology of suffering and how the Eucharist had changed her life. I had to get on stage so PD thanked the folks for their time and told them how much she appreciated their boldness in sharing the gospel at a festival like this.
Next year, I am going to ask my pastor if we can set up a stand at this festival so St. Ann's Catholic Church can spread the gospel too . The sad thing is how many souls walked by who really needed to hear the Gospel while I defended Catholicism to a person who I assume already is a Christian, while he simultaneously attempted to get me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior because he made the assumption I couldn't be saved because I was Catholic! I can only imagine how this grieves the heart of God.