Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another Emergent Church Guy Goes for a Swim


Almost a year ago I posted about the emergent church movement. The desire to return to the "roots" of the ancient faith combined with an appreciation for liturgy and more contemplative forms of spirituality, for some, inevitably leads to Rome. What I have also found in the emergent and the "ancient/future" worship movements is a willingness in these folks to let go of their disdain for anything that may have the scent of incense on it. (Perhaps they never had incensophobia*) The willingness to appreciate anything written before 1517, except the Bible, is a moderately strong predictor of an eventual Tiber Jump.
Would that I had been able to to get over my disdain of all things liturgical, ancient, and.. ca..Ca....Catholic. Perhaps I would have made the swim years ago.

After Robert Webber's passing, I told my wife, Prodigal Daughter, I expected to see a number of new conversions among the Emergent Church folks after his death. Why? Because, Robert now stands before the throne of glory and no longer sees through a "glass darkly." He is able to intercede for those on the journey that are so close to what he now knows to be the fullness of truth. Who knows? Perhaps, some of these recent conversions/reversions may be the results of his prayers. He may become the patron saint of the emergent brethren.

All that being said, Welcome Home Tom! Our prayers are with you and your family.
Please give him a hearty Catholic Blogger's Welcome!

*Incensophobia, According to Tiberpedia, an acute medical condition characterized by symptoms which develop upon exposure to liturgical incense. (Incense burned while listening to the Dead doesn't seem to have the same effect) For some, the symptoms can occur with even the slightest provocation including a brief whiff of incense often found in the foyers of Catholic Churches.
Symptoms include a tightening of the throat, lower abdominal cramps, sudden headache and an intense desire to be somewhere else. Repressed memories of Mass as a child often return upon exposure and may lead to exacerbation of the above symptoms.
As a result, the sufferer develops intense fear and a near pathologic loathing of all things associated with incense, ie. the ancient Church.

17 Comments:

Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Good news! The best form of roots.

2 Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

August 18, 2007 6:37 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Amen!

August 18, 2007 9:18 PM  
Blogger + Alan said...

It's an interesting phenomenon one way or another TJ. I think there are some definite "logical conclusions" to some of the emerging church deal that will lead some to either Rome, Constantinople or Canterbury. I've seen it happen already a few times.

I'll say this, with some deep experiential knowledge of the ec phenomenon - I doubt it will be a mass exodus. Tom and I are slight anomalies in that world in that we were both Roman Catholics and committed Christians before moving into other arenas of church. Most of the people I know in that world have never been Catholic. Some were raised in very anti-Catholic ecclesiastical worlds and have definitely left that part behind.

Most of the draw to Catholicism for those in the ec deal who are drawn to such a thing, is through the monastics and monastic spirituality and liturgy. These folks are not, for instance, reading Scott Hahn and being intellectually convinced of the claims of the Catholic Church. What's happening is that they are seeing the riches of the ancient Faith that have been carried down through the ages, how it has formed and is forming people in the image of Christ, and they are diving into that.

Now, as for the authority of the Church, the hierarchy, canon law, etc. This is not an attraction for most of these people at all. Many are certainly getting tired of amorphous leadership and church life. They are getting hold of principles of "abboting" in a community. Lots of very cool things are happening, along with some goofy stuff. A lot of movement type things are like that, outside or inside the Catholic Church. I'll even say for me, that the draw to come back "home" was much more of a mystical inward thing than anything about being re-convinced in my head. There are still things my head needs to work out, but I'm willing to bow and work that stuff out on the inside.

Sorry to leave such a long comment. Just made me think of a few things. Peace to you.

August 18, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Alan, it helps me to understand . Monasticism actually in college held me for a short time too and I loved reading Bro Lawrence, next to the Bible, was my favorite book.

What did u think of Robert Webber's "Call" that was published in CT?

August 18, 2007 10:04 PM  
Blogger Paul Stokell said...

This is a great post and an even greater blog. So many folks like me - in their '30's, involved in ministry in one form or another - have thought about "leaving the City" for uncharted territory out of reaction to one thing or another: bad clergy, bad preaching, bad policies, and the "bad air" due to one generation's influence lingering far too long. But there's enough to keep us around, and even more worth changing when the time is right. And the Church *is* changing, whether we like it or not - we just have to stay positive and hopeful.

August 18, 2007 10:39 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

thanks Paul
yes stay pos and hopeful.!!!
Trust me I left the City a long time ago, and there's nothing like being back!

August 18, 2007 10:57 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

What is the opposite of Incensophobia?? I think I have the reverse condition because I get swept away with joy and prayerfulness whenever I smell incense at Mass...

Oh for the LOVE of God another word verification. This is torture for us dyslexics ya know!

August 19, 2007 5:21 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

CC:
The condition you are describing is called "Incensophilia." Well described in Tiberpedia, it is as you say an incurable condition that brings on feelings of rapturous joy and reverence towards God when the afflicted get a whiff. These folks will often be found outside of Orthodox and Catholic Churches even after the Mass just attempting to get another whiff. In some of the literature, they are referred to as Liturgical Huffers.

Sorry 'bout the word verification.
Just hold a mirror up to the screen and type the letters as they seem to appear. it usually works out ok :)

August 19, 2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger + Alan said...

I don't think I read the "Call" in CT. Sounds familiar but I'm not sure. I did read his book Ancient Future Faith - very good. I also went to one of his seminars locally a few years back. Very helpful for those who were looking to get a "primer" in liturgical worship. He had a great influence on many.

On the incense thing, I always say, to me "it smells like God." Go visit a Cistercian monastery sometime. It's usually infused into the fiber of the place.

August 19, 2007 11:03 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

The Call was Robert's call for evangelical Christians to take a look at the ancient creeds and practices and return to the catholicity of the faith. It was pretty neat and I wished I had read him before I returned to the Church.

It's funny but I have a "warm fuzzy feeling" now too when smell incense.
I wish our parish used it more often. Usually it is just for first Friday Adoration monthly, or the Christmas or Easter.
I feel a new blog coming on;
"Incense, it is just for the holidays anymore"

August 19, 2007 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I love the smell of incense in the morning.

Smells like ... holiness.

:)

August 19, 2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

Dude...I'm a Liturgical Huffer. Wow. I always knew I would amount to something...

Word verification...
*Holding Mirror* xvw (a "v" and a "w" side by side LAWD, HEP ME!)..w..(in the name of all that is sacred, vww?! This is killing me...)

August 19, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Welcome Home Tom! There is no better place to be--prayers ascending for your family. (Still praying for your boys tiber:)

August 19, 2007 4:40 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

thanks Tara

August 19, 2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger + Alan said...

And you know you can buy your own, the real stuff - even little personal censors for private or family prayer use in the home. I stink my study up real good with it from time to time. Handy.

August 19, 2007 8:03 PM  
Blogger tom said...

Hey TJ, thanks for the prayers. Like Alan said, the two of us were kind of the black sheep in the emerging matrix. Although, having said that I know that our own community, Matthew's House, has been challenged by studying the historical church. In fact, we've got one of our single guys entering into RCIA this fall in response to our move back.

PS - I've always loved the smell of incense.

August 19, 2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

You are welcome Tom.
It is very encouraging to all of us reverts, converts and cradles to see people find their home in the Church.
Thanks for posting your story and making the jump!

August 19, 2007 10:37 PM  

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