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, July 28, 2007

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.


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Great post TJ! I chuckled and yet, got sad at the same time. So very sad to know that the hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady have to be burdened in 2007 with the "presumptuous spirituality" of Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. Some Catholics probably become as presumptuous with the faith when they might be tempted to wear a scapular and flaunt it in God's eyes at the Judgment, saying: "See God, I wore this my whole life doesn't that get me into heaven?" And Protestants may say, "I believed in all of these Chick tracts, doesn't that qualify my entrance into the Kingdom?"

I may have to "lift" this and post it on my blog. In fact I will and maybe a few others will drop in to "see" you at yours.


July 29, 2007 7:37 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Lift away Suse.
Good point you made about the presumption on both sides of the reformation.

July 29, 2007 8:55 AM  
Blogger Prodigal Daughter said...

Here is a summary of my encounter.

I shared with her my personal conversion story about leaving the CC when I was ten and living an ungodly life until age 21 when I was born again. I told her how I spent the next 15 years studying the Bible, having fellowship, praying and praising God. Then I explained how after marrying TJ (a widower with 2 small boys) I found I needed more. "Evangelical was not enough." I explained to her that the two things which brought me back to the CC were the theology of suffering and the Eucharist. I told her about Colossians 1:24 where Paul says "I make up for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of his body which is the church." I explained to her that when I knew I could receive Jesus, physically receive him, I had a great desire to do so. I also told her how being Catholic and receiving the Sacraments has helped me to be a better Christian wife and mother.

July 29, 2007 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Tiber and PD,
I want to let you know how grateful I am to you for defending our faith. I suspect people like those get a lot of satisfaction from sitting in judgement of us, so much so that they are not really interested in the truth. I think that some don't think to question what they are told, though. Some Baptists came to my door last year and told me Catholics believe we are saved by works, that we pray to Mary, etc. I am not brave enough to explain these things very well to the many misinformed.
I used to have a Baptist friend who told me several times that I don't have a personal relationship with Christ (based on the fact that I am Catholic) which was absurd because I pray and talk to Jesus all the time.
Anyway, I hope you keep up the good work.
And if works are NOT a natural outpouring of faith, what do those people think they were doing at that festival?

July 29, 2007 12:34 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Julie!
More of us need to get creative in the way we share our faith like these

July 29, 2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Bless your hearts for your tireless work, even when performing, or trying to have a recreation day, in spreading the true word.

What do Our Lord and Our Lady do when they are tired of hearing the Catholic church be attacked? Flip the TV channel to mainstream Islam and watch that for a while. They aren't ashamed to have adverts for Mary as a model for all women, and they touchstone back to obeying and being humble before God's word and will, rather than thinking that someone on earth decides when his neighbor goes to hell. That's a big tsk tsk and a lot of oopsie daisy in hell for those who think they are the ones judging on earth! ;-)

July 29, 2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Sometimes you may not think what you are saying or doing is not "sinking in." But truth speaks very louldly in the heart. You may not know how your, and your wife's truths might have affected them or an onlooker?? Standing up for Jesus is what's important!

I like setting up your own stand next year!

July 29, 2007 5:34 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

"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!"

Zounds man! That easily ecapsulates more than a third of the "arguments" I've had proffered me by well-meaning fellow Christians desiring to show me the error of the Church.


July 30, 2007 9:39 AM  

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