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 07, 2009

The Victory of the Printing Press?

The Christian author of The Well Trained Mind, a guide to training children in the classical model of education had made this interesting quote: (cf the full article here)

"I want to suggest — classical educator that I am — that in our immense and proper regard for the Word of God, we have elevated words in general (books and the Christian print culture which grew out of the American publishing scene) to a wildly exaggerated place of respect. We have allowed publishers, writers, and curriculum authors an authority which is unmatched even by the authority of the local body of Christ. I am not suggesting that we somehow lower our view of Scripture, but I am suggesting that the victory of the printing press has not strengthened Christianity. If it had, wouldn't the church of Christ be stronger now than in the first century? Look at the fragmented, divisive, confrontational state of American Christianity; look at the hundreds of Bible versions that jostle for supremacy on bookstore shelves; look at the power which theologically bad books (from Left Behind to Chicken Soup for the Soul) exert over American Christians; look at the place that the Christian bookstore has assumed in determining the average Christian's view of marriage, material gain, and work. And then consider that the New Testament church flourished with a low literacy rate, with Scriptures that were not printed and thus had to be read aloud — and so were always read and interpreted within the context of the obedient, faithful, local, believing community. The church of Christ, not textbook writers, should be responsible for providing the central Christian story that must inform all true education. "

This writer has seen what Catholics have been saying since the reformation. It sounds like she has been reading Catholic apologetic arguments! The availability of the Bible provided by the printing press did not ultimately strengthen the Church. She makes the point that the New Testament Church flourished despite a low literacy rate and the absence of a personal New Testament for every believer. How did they get the Truth? She says: "The scriptures were read to them within the context of the obedient, faithful, local community." Catholics would phrase it more like this; "the Holy Scriptures were read to the faithful in the context of the Mass during the liturgy of the word and the homily was used to teach the the faithful about what they just heard." All within the context of the Church which is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15) Daily Mass attendance can provide an illiterate person with the entire bible in just three years.

This Christian author/educator goes on to say "The gospel is understood within a faithful believing community, not alone with one's Bible; and gospel-based education is formulated and applied within a faithful believing community, not alone with one's Bible and a copy of The Well-Trained Mind (or any other homeschooling book)."

It's thinking like this that may ultimately lead this writer to that ancient early Church. I pray she embraces what she finds.


Blogger George Weis said...

How true! Russ, I cannot agree with her unknowingly Catholic thinking :D

I don't think it bad that we have Bibles available, and that people are literate now.... only what we have done with these gifts has largely been divisive to the greater body. We don't "think together" any longer, but we all think for ourselves in such a way, that we pit ourselves against one another. Such a terribly un-christian way to be.

I long for the old way, in the sense that we are one and standing strong and together. What would the world be like if that happened? Mountains might be moved.

Yet, I stand here with cement around my toes. So often things come up that make the idea of being Catholic a terrible thing. Usually detached from the Church teachings, and attached rather to the average lay person.

What to do? Keep praying... keep seeking Him. We have also started attending daily MASS... I really love that. So does Ashley.

Blessings to you dear friend,

May 07, 2009 9:01 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"I long for the old way, in the sense that we are one and standing strong and together."- I think that is what Jesus had in mind when He prayed we would be one. How sad we use the bible, His Word to throw arrows at one another.These things ought not to be so.

"So often things come up that make the idea of being Catholic a terrible thing. Usually detached from the Church teachings, and attached rather to the average lay person."
George, as you may know,I based my initial view of what Catholicism was from family members who did not know or practice the faith. I myself was a CINO, and didn't really understand the Church and was just 14 years old.
Hence I walked away from the most sublime,ineffable gift of God to us, the Eucharist(The real presence of Christ), based on my opinion formed from looking at others who didn't practice the faith!
Had I known that Jesus was truly abiding and present in the Catholic Church, after I had my born again experience, I wouldn't have let one bad Catholic, or a troubled family member's fractured faith keep me from Him. But once I found Jesus in a personal way, at a Bible study, I then looked back at Catholics, not the teachings, not the Truth, but Catholics, like my mum and dad who had troubled lives, and made the assumption that it couldn't be true.
That combined with weekly doses of Chick tracts at the bible study had me the most ardent anti-Catholic in no time. Yet, I never looked at the lives of the saints and godly Catholic folks who were around me.
If Catholicism is true, George, it is true regardless if no one believes it or practices it. My advice if you don't mind: Just keep your eyes forward in Mass looking at Him who humbles Himself in the appearance of bread and wine. Avail yourself of the grace that is there, make a spiritual communionwith Him while at Mass. If it is His will is for you and Ashley to make the jump, He will make it known, just be at peace, pray for wisdom, and keep your eyes on Him,not on those who may not avail themselves of that wondrous grace and power.
Sorry for the preach,
blessings to you and Ashley,

May 07, 2009 10:13 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...


I actually do my best at Mass to do exactly that. It is is life on the outside that shows the true colors of faith though isn't it? How we as the people of God handle every circumstance that comes our way.

I am down with what you are saying, but it doesn't instantly make it easier.

Blessings and many thanks... preaching to me is never a problem... people have to bear my own preaching at times :)


May 08, 2009 8:09 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

Well, I tell my 6th graders that all the biggest lies are found in books.

My thought is that prior to the printing press, the written word had a primacy due to the expense & difficulty of producing books, and the educated class' monopoly of literacy. But this limiting meant that almost no-one could read or write a book in isolation, drawing their own isolated conclusions.

With the advent of the printing press, and then the Net, relatively speaking anyone can publish anything at all, yet the mystique of the written word persists in humans when the original physical reasons for that exalted status are long gone.

I touch on this a bit here:

May 14, 2009 7:15 PM  

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