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, May 31, 2007

More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar

Opinion piece from the NCR on the subject of conversion:

"It is ironic but true: Attempts by Catholics to correct Protestant misunderstandings often do much more to strengthen Catholics’ faith than they do to change Protestants’ minds. The attempts by Catholics to understand what Protestants get right are what attracted Beckwith to the faith.

There are several reasons this is the case.

The most obvious is the cliché that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. Yet the deeper truth is that we can’t reach anybody we don’t love. Love and freedom are fundamental to our human dignity. We would never think of joining up with someone who has done nothing but criticize and belittle us. But if someone has respected us and appreciated what we’ve gotten right, then we’re more likely to listen when they offer to show us how to get even more right.

That’s because, ultimately, Catholics don’t convert people – the truth does.

To bring people to the truth, what’s necessary isn’t to expose the error of their ways – but to dispose them to seeing the splendor of the truth."


Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Here's a strange story that I bet many can relate to. Not long ago I was at a coffee shop and I saw a very unhappy man. Turns out he had a death in the family and felt very bad that the family member had died unsaved. He was clearly in a lot of pain, as he had fallen away too. Yet at the very first moment I opened my mouth to comfort him, I got the Catholic smack down as my thanks lol. I persisted and even gave him a copy of one of my favorite pictures of Jesus.

What is really sad is that he didn't realize that I recognized him as someone from my past social life of many years ago. So.... not only putting down of a Catholic who is comforting you, dummy, but the dishonesty of the encounter (I knew he knew who I was and was testing my recognition) are both more important than Jesus Christ at work.

May 31, 2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

TB, thanks for your blog. I just read with great interest your latest three entries. Okay, I'm adding you to my 'Take a Gander' column.

Also, mmajor fan, we're homeschoolers in the midst of a Protestant support group (the Catholics have one but there's no teens and it's not well organized), so most of the Catholics join the Protestant one. The smackdown happens, mostly by the Baptists. The Methodists are usually very respectful and there's also the Lutherans and the Episcopalians who are fine. The evangelicals are almost as bad as the Baptists. That said, they are really speaking out of ignorance, which is sad. The Catholic moms all gather (there's quite a few of them) and talk their faith in out of the way places (like the church kitchen). There is such excitement about their faith, that it makes the smackdowns quite bearable. I can't imagine going back to Protestantism, even if my annulment doesn't go through. Once you know what you have with the Eucharist, there's no going back, even if full communion isn't in the stars.

June 01, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

This is so true... One of the many things that brought me to a desire to examine Catholicism was the charity I saw in Catholics during debates. While Prots were condemning Catholics to hell, Catholics were simply defending their faith (of course, their arguments started to make MUCH more sense than the Prot side I was fighting on too!)

Ultimately, every time I am forced to defend my faith, I find that my conviction in favor of Catholicism is deepened... On the flip side, when I was a Prot, every time I defended my faith, I found my position weakened.

Defend in love and the truth will always win out!

June 01, 2007 11:49 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"Defend in love and the truth will always win out!"

Tis true bit tis hard too!

One of the most difficult things I have found is trying to not sound triumphalistic when stating things that Catholics believe to be true.
Let's face it, We believe Jesus started this Church, and continues to abide in it both physically and spiritually. We use words like infallible and authority, and to the non-Catholic, we come across smug and "know it all."
How to be able to say to the people "Hey, I just found a treasure that I didn't know was sitting under my nose. Let me help you to find it too!" without Inflaming is tough. We all have a vested stake in what we believe is Truth. Let's face it, no one who ever joins a group, or church does so thinking they don't have the truth.
as you know, I tend to cross the line, but usually in terms of defending the Church from the absurd rants against it (not that The Church needs my defense!)
Thanks for the comment.

June 01, 2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Gretchen and friends, great comments. When certain Prots make the comments and are hostile, I'm disappointed more than angry. Especially because during one of my managerial jobs years ago, I had Muslim and Hindi employees and they were more respectful to me and my faith than some Christians were. I remember once stopping one of my managers (secular) from making dorky comments about Ganesha to one of our staff (who had an image on his computer as a screen saver.) I was thrilled to see any sign of faith in Gotham lol, and have always had a soft spot for Ganesha. Wish some certain Prots had a soft spot for us Catholics lol.

June 02, 2007 1:38 AM  
Blogger onionboy said...

In the past year and a bit since I have been Catholic, I've been more comfortable sharing my Christian faith with others than ever before, which is a tad shameful as I was a Protestant minister for not a short while. I find faith or religious conversation comes naturally as I simple be who I am in Christ and as I share my own journey. It's great to have the "gotta convert souls" pressure off and the just share the truth on. It's freeing!

So, I add my Amen to this: "Catholics don’t convert people – the truth does."


June 02, 2007 8:50 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Onion Boy:
I have wanted to post on this and now I just might. I too have noted an ease about sharing my faith in the past three years. I don't have that feeling like I have to "make the sale" . I have been much more relaxed as I tell of my conversion and quite honestly have had more opportunities in the past three years than in the past 20!! Which is odd, but I'll take it.

June 02, 2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Uh...still waitin' on that honey thing...

June 04, 2007 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Dear Pilgrim:

May God bless you and keep you in the fullness of His Word. "I keep my steps from every evil path, that I may obey your word. From your edicts I do not turn, for you have taught them to me. How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
--Ps 119, v. 101-103. NAB

I can offer no finer honey than the Word of God. I'm blessed that you bring this same delicacy to the table.

With thanks, your brother in Christ,

June 04, 2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Ah C'mon now PA! "My Man got no face!"

June 04, 2007 9:08 PM  

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