Monday, 18 August 2014

7QT:Catholic-Protestant Interactions and Thoughts

Aren't you so excited that I'm going to touch such a sensitive topic? Well, it's one that I think about a lot, so you just get to get into my head a little today. Something that people around me LOVE to do. (Not.)

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I very rarely find a balanced approach to ecumenism in the Catholic world. Either it's the obsessed  crazy focused Catholics who are so convicted of the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith that they can't believe that there's anything good outside of it, who seem defensive, or offensive when anything 'Christian, not Catholic' is mentioned, who see the Protestant as 'the other'. Or it's the people who aren't too jazzed about the Catholic faith itself, or don't know that much, who are all like 'Nothing matters, in the end we should all do the best we can, there's no real difference between Catholic and Protestant belief', etc. Even though I leaned toward the first half for many years, I've reached a place where I KNOW that neither extreme reflects the truth or the beauty of God's love and plan for His people.

And so I feel sad when I hear of a prominent Catholic speaker who comes to speak at my parish and does some Protestant- bashing. Or when Catholics take offence at the phrase 'personal relationship with Jesus' because it sounds too Protestant'. What?

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I know that one of the problems is that people's opinions are so much influenced by their personal experiences and interactions. If you've constantly been mocked by Protestants for being Catholic, I can understand being defensive about it. And if you've been put down in Catholic school for being Protestant, well, duh. And of you've never discovered the truth and beauty of Church teaching, of course you feel 'What's the big deal?'

Here's one of the truest and loving-est lines about ecumenism I've heard- 'There's far more that unites us than divides us.'

Ah ha. Quite the shocker for Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, both.

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Pope Francis seems to be quite the example of how to relate to Protestants, in so many different instances:

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---4---

In my own experiences, I have been getting many opportunities to work at Christian unity.

For example, a few days ago, I preached at a Protestant church.

!!!!!

Yeah, that probably sounds cooler than it was. We actually spoke to the youth of the church for an event on Indian Independence Day, but several pastors were present. I was surprised at their openness to having my team (as Catholics) speak, since many Protestants too have misconceptions about Catholics, and find it hard to believe that we are 'real' Christians. But it was so cool- I spoke on 'Freedom in Christ', and quoted JP2, and we were completely united on everything I shared! There were quite a few 'Amens' during the talk, not something I hear often when I speak to Catholics. :-)

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Growing up with the charismatic renewal has definitely helped with being comfortable with Protestants. I can imagine many Catholics stiff with discomfort at the vocal praise, the music style, the preaching. But for me, it felt like a prayer meeting (which is not surprising since the Charismatic renewal started in Protestant churches), which made it easier to relate to them as brothers and sisters.

I remember one of my friends telling me after I attended a charismatic prayer meeting, something to the effect of "It's more Catholic to pray silently in Adoration, more like Mary." And I retorted "How many times does it say in the psalms 'Shout to the Lord'?" There are so many instances where the Jewish people sang and danced and shouted to God. How often do we Catholics do that? And let's not get into Acts 2 and 'tongues' which I'm sure most Catholics would be happy to vote out of the bible, which thankfully Catholics don't do. (You see how I'm digging at both Catholics and Protestants? Now that's the spirit of ecumenism. Not really.)

----6----

Favourite person to hear talking about ecumenism is Dr. Peter Kreeft. Some 'Ouch/aha' quotes from him:

Why should God let Protestants become Catholics when many Protestants, perhaps most, already know Christ more intimately and personally than many Catholics, perhaps most! How can God lead Protestants home to the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church until the Catholic Church becomes that fullness that they knew as Protestants plus more, not any less! 

When Catholics know Christ better than Protestants do, when Catholics are better Protestants than Protestants, then Protestants will become Catholics in order to become better Protestants! When Catholics are evangelized, Protestants will be sacramentalized. But not before! Evangelizing comes first.

Read the rest of the article/transcript:  Ecumenism without Compromise by Dr. Peter Kreeft or listen to the audio. (P.s. He's really easy to listen to.)

----7----

And just because memes make great addition to blog posts, here you go:



Over to Jen's for more quick takes.

(Oops, looks like posting Seven Quick Takes Friday on a Monday is not acceptable, link up closed. Guess I'll just link it next Friday.)

8 comments:

  1. I'm the token Lutheran in #Cathsorority and one of the things I frequently emphasize is that Protestantism is a pretty large spectrum. You've got the high-church people like the Lutherans and Episcopalians and then you've got the low church praise and worship people like the Pentecostals and the Evangelicals. I think it would seriously weird the people at my husband's churches out if someone said "Amen!" during the sermon. :)

    There are parts of both Catholicism and the Protestant traditions that are beautiful and good and can enhance the faith of the others. I love liturgy done well (I think it's a J thing) and things like chanting the liturgy or singing the Psalms are things I totally love but that I hear my fellow Lutherans dismissing as "too Catholic". (It totally goes both ways. I really have to bite my tongue and not make comments like "Because the Lutheran Church magically descended from heaven in 1517, right?") Lutherans also get pissy about contemporary worship things like the music at the evangelical churches being incorporated into worship, regardless of the fact that it feeds some people spiritually.

    I'm also eternally grateful for my Catholic chicas who pray for my son Daniel and who have been praying for my family through our ministry transition. These are truly John 17 friendships.

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    1. You're right- I forget that not all Protestants are evangelicals, and use those words interchangeably, which is not accurate. Most of my experience with non-Catholic Christians has been with evangelicals. Also, I realize I use the word 'Protestant' for all non-Catholic Christians, which is not accurate either.

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  2. My next door neighbor is a Catholic re-vert. He grew up in a predominantly Catholic part of the country (well as predominanty as it can be) and ignored his faith for many years. I, on the other hand, am a cradle Catholic who has never left the Church and grew up in an area where Catholics are a very small minority (still are). The difference I see in his approach and mine is astounding. I had no choice but to work with Protestants my whole life at building the Kingdom. Even our Catholic, parish schools are largely Protestant student body's here because of the higher quality of education and for the fact that most private education in this state is Catholic on the K-12 level. I remember leading a retreat for 8th graders when I was a senior in high school and the kids were in groups of 10. After rotating groups, I realized 70% of the kids were not Catholic. I don't know that it ever hit me that hard how much of a minority we were because my parents filled our life with parish activities and ministries. But we had no Catholic neighbors. We had wonderful, Christian neighbors who cooked meals when my mom got sick and had babies. They welcomed us into their homes at holidays because we lived thousands of miles from family and supported my parents when my brother was going through various medical trials. Because of that experience, I am much more willing to reach out to my Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ and share my faith and hope they share there own faith with me. We have much to learn from each other. I was married in a Methodist church (LONG STORY) and I remember the pastor being wonderful when he found out I was Catholic ("well," he said, "we won't do communion, that was an easy decision!" with a huge welcoming smile). He even praised the Catholic sacrament of marriage saying it was one thing he knew Protestants had gotten wrong in not making marriage a sacrament or at least treating it sacramentally. Last year I even joined Bible Study Fellowship. My neighbor, on the other hand, with the re-vert zeal finds himself in "occupied territory" and often upsets other neighbors with his behavior toward them and attitudes. It's not even what he says, it's how he says it. I'm pretty sure he thinks heaven will be very un-crowded because of all the non-Catholic Christians. I want to tell him to read the catechism but I pray for him instead. God blessed me with the life experience to realize there are many ways to Him. And I was just blessed to get the "fullness of faith" right from the beginning.

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    1. Thanks for the long comment :-) 'It's not even what he says, it's how he says it.' The big lesson I've learned in life!

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  3. Oh goodness! Love your blog! That first pic in #7 made me literally laugh out loud. Love it!
    My husband use to be the "eh, whatever" Catholic and now he is well beyond "Catholics rock" (which we do lol). I'm thrilled we have become more untied in that aspect of our marriage, but yes, seeing and hearing both sides within our own families... I am right there with you girl! :) And, go you on #4! How awesome is that?! :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting! My #4 experience WAS pretty awesome... totally a gift from the Lord.

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  4. Just stumbled across your blog - you are so right on all your points! I grew up Protestant and just became Catholic at Easter 2013, and my fiance, who is a cradle Catholic, has expressed to me his level of comfort concerning the way that some Protestant churches are. (Hint: he's not very comfortable with them.) It is very different, but there is a lot of good in them that I think is easy for Catholics to overlook because of all the upbeat music and hand raising and all that. But I grew up with Protestants and I know their hearts are true and they have so much love for God. So we all definitely have a lot we can learn from each other, like Dr. Kreeft says. And we definitely must always remember your point in #2 - 'There's far more that unites us than divides us.' I hope and pray that my family, who is entirely Protestant, has started to see that even if only a little since my conversion.

    Katie

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    1. I think that when Protestants see Catholics acting like they're Christian, it seems like they're often surprised, but that's what helps the misconceptions and misunderstandings to be washed away. the witness of your life will probably help your family the most.

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