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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toto, We Aren't in Kansas Anymore


This past Sunday's Gospel has been on my heart and mind all week. It keeps coming up in conversation and on the blog as well as in real (non-virtual) life. When my brother and I accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior during the early days of the "Jesus Movement" we quickly alienated ourselves from friends and family through aggressive witnessing and a judgmental attitude in which I saw the world as "saved" and "unsaved." My older brother called us Jesus Freaks and sided with my parents against our new found expression of faith. My parents didn't understand our need to be saved, since they thought we were good Catholic kids playing guitar in the folk Mass, going to CCD etc. We didn't tell them for many years the bad stuff we were into including the occult and illegal substances so they didn't see the need for conversion that we so obviously did. I now, with the wisdom of age, can't blame them for their reaction since we weren't honest with them regarding our errant morality that we kept hidden from them. We thought we were being "persecuted for righteousness sake" but I don't think this was what Jesus was talking about. I believe it was our arrogance of how we promoted what we thought was the Gospel that caused division, and not the Gospel itself, at least on most days. (If you're reading this my big West Coast Wally , I'm sorry for being a judgmental little Beave)

As the years went by the youthful zeal settled down quite a bit. I still talked openly about the Lord with patients in my medical practice but the degree of hostility and alienation I experienced as well as possibly self-engendered had definitely settled down. By now America had weathered the Carter years and many celebrities were claiming a born-again experience, even, Bob Dylan I might add. Evangelical Christianity had become a powerful force in politics and no longer is considered counter-cultural as it had at one time perhaps 30 years ago.

Upon returning to the Catholic Church, my wife and I have once again experienced some of that divisiveness that Jesus predicted would occur. The difference now is that I am no longer asking people "are they saved" but simply being open about what it means to believe in Jesus as a Catholic Christian, which seems to ruffle feathers to no small degree. It is odd that as a born-again Christian I pretty much no longer received grief from people but now being Catholic and sharing that fact with others really creates some heat. What is most odd is that the heat has come from fellow believers in the household of God, and not from the outside. Early after my reversion I was performing at a Christian Coffeehouse that I had played at before. At the end of the night I made a joke about needing to go to confession because I now was Catholic. Some folks from the small audience started asking some questions and I ended the show with a spontaneous Q&A about Catholicism. It appeared friendly to me and I went my way after selling a few CD's. Two days later I received an e-mail from the Christian promoter chastising me because "Not only are you Catholic now but you had the nerve to tell the audience about it! I need to cancel your upcoming performance scheduled for October. When you decide you want to live for Jesus, we will be glad to talk to you." And with that as the first of many other e mails and gig cancellations, I realized that we were no longer in Kansas anymore. Christianity practiced correctly will always and should always remain counter-cultural. Living out devout Catholic lives will continue to cause discomfort and division as Jesus predicted. Let's pray it's not from our own arrogance and judgmental attitudes.


Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

25 Comments:

Blogger onionboy said...

I am sorry for your losses TJ but thankful for your profession of faith. I have had some of my own. Unfortunately, I have just realized, I created a few as well. I posted about that today.

O | luminousmiseries.ca | onionboy.ca

August 23, 2007 5:24 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

That was a great post on your blog.
So true

August 23, 2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

Luckily, the Lord also promised us that whatever we sacrifice of ourselves for his sake -- whether it be our family, our friends, our possessions -- we will gain a hundredfold, and eternal life.

God bless you, TJ.

August 23, 2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

TJ,

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I can understand why people would be surprised by your announcement, but I don't understand why you should be contacted and cancelled. It's not like you were playing Folk Mass music; unless "New Car Smell" has some hidden Catholic meaning of which I'm not aware. :)

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

August 23, 2007 9:21 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yeah, If you play "New Car Smell" backwards in a dimly lit room with incense burning you will hear:

"Here we are, All together as we sing our songs, joyfully, here we are altogether as we pray we'll always be."

It took me weeks to orchestrate the pallindromic aspect of the recording but the new digital software I used makes McCartney and Lennon look like amateurs.

seriously though, I did ask one church that canceled me how they thought Catholicism would affect my hammer dulcimer playing. I never received a response.

August 23, 2007 9:37 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

HAMMERED DULCIMER?!

I have one of those. It's probably the least-used trapezoid in my possession. I need to break that thing out (and break it in). And fix that string that broke. :(

August 23, 2007 11:44 PM  
Blogger White Stone Name Seeker said...

This reading speaks strongly to us too. The fact that my husband crossed the Tiber last year is such a painful issue for his dad that it must never be spoken of.

I have put up with snide remarks and bizarre views about my faith from friends, family and colleagues.
It's the way it is.-unless of course you ditch all those who don't agree with you.

God bless

August 24, 2007 5:26 AM  
Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

This reading also dovetails with an important point Jesus makes elsewhere: "Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." (Matt 12:25).

I would posit that the city of Man is a house divided against itself. No amount of platitudes about peace, inclusiveness and tolerance will make the divisions go away. And some of the division is necessary, as followers of Christ, we need to seperate ourselves from worldly passions and vices. Our refusal and condemnation of these passions and vices , held dear by our brethren, will cause strife.

Jerusalem, as the city of Man, is now a house divided, and will always be so, so long as Man is Man and some men choose to follow Christ. The New Jerusalem, free of division, will be a gift from God, and He alone can provide it.

Peace in Christ,

Jimbob

August 24, 2007 7:45 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Japhy:
What's the most used trapezoid you have?
If you go to u tube, and search hammer dulcimer, search by view count, you will see my hammer dulcimer,tune planxty fluharty
its the 6th most viewed.

August 24, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

wsns,
yes we should never give into that temptation to ditch those who don't agree. And over religion of all things, just is so sad.

August 24, 2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

jimbob thanks for the comment,
yes the New Jerusalem what a gift that will be. Can't imagine God has any joy in seeing this house now so divided.

August 24, 2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
This post speaks to all of us--in that we all have been persecuted for our faith--Jesus said it would happen--and He can't lie. I expect it daily.

When I was no religion--no one bothered me--not even to try and convert me??? When I became Protestant--telling people I was non-denominational Christian--no one bothered me. But when I became Catholic--pure attack and hate--wow--do I ever believe I have the fullness of truth.

The spirit of the anti-christ is alive and well--I love Holy Mother Church and am persecuted daily from both my co-workers with constant jabs and subtle remarks, and my family. Rejection by the spirit of the anti-christ--it doesn't feel good--but I think of Jesus despised and rejected--I'm tough--I can handle the pain.

August 24, 2007 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was such a beautiful post.

"The difference now is that I am no longer asking people "are they saved" but simply being open about what it means to believe in Jesus as a Catholic Christian, which seems to ruffle feathers to no small degree."

This was particularly resonant.

God bless...

August 24, 2007 1:02 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Regarding the quote that anonymous plucked, I agree. I have noticed that the "ruffling of feathers" does not only extend to Protestants who have difficulty surpassing their misperceptions of Church teachng, but also to fallen away Catholics.

August 24, 2007 3:09 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Radical stuff Jesus calls us to, ain't it, bro? Come follow me ...and DIE.


Happily, we are also told to shake the dust off our feet when we're not welcome, provided we're coming in the spirit of love to that "town" and or neighbor. Prophets aren't much accepted in their own household...and we trudge on with our Lord. Hopefully, all the way to the end of the line. (Great Traveling Wilbury's song btw!) : )

August 24, 2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

and whatever happened to TOTO? They still around, TJ?

August 24, 2007 6:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I heard "Kyrie Lieson" playing while in a 7 11 today, and thought, "wonder what they were thinking?", but it turns out it was just a good hook for the tune, and had no religious significance as far as the writer was concerned. Toto probably the best studio band ever!

August 24, 2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Ha! Studio band, yes.

August 24, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

I like that song Mister Mister did a number of years back--Kyrie. I don't know the Toto one, although I do like them. They had a great line in their song "I'll Be Over You;"

Soon as forever is through
I'll be over you

August 24, 2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Crap, I get ToTo and and Mister Mister mixed up all of the time too.

August 24, 2007 10:32 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

PA:

Mister, this ain't Toto after all!

August 24, 2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Tara:
makes me feel a little better that this is not uncommon, not just in my neck of the woods because Soemtimes I think i'm just a bit overparanoid, BTW what did you mean by ... LOL

August 24, 2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
LOL??? was it on another post? I re-read this post and didn't see it?

August 25, 2007 8:37 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

tara, Sorry i was just kidding, meaning i'm paranoid so i was saying what did you mean by your comment?
The LOL was supposed to mean it's a joke. Sorry, Im a little obtuse. Other bloggers have said my humor escapes them, maybe because I'm not really funny! >>>.

Hey thanks for your prayers and support. i'll keep your kids in my Prayers too

August 25, 2007 9:09 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
Ok, duh--I'm a little slow on the uptake--and my sister has paranoid schzophrenia--you think I would be able to recognize a paranoia joke immediately! LOL

Thanks for the prayers!

August 26, 2007 1:57 AM  

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