Thursday, November 8, 2012

My First Confrontation - Newb Catholic vs. Senior Baptist Pastor

The Lord has often put obstacles in my way. From a horrible marriage to people filled with hate. It didn't take long when I was forced, okay nudged  by the Holy Spirit to take up and defend the Holy Catholic Church. And I was immediately forced to revisit the challenges that caused me hesitation in the first place.

So there I was scrolling through when I saw this picture and accompanying comment posted on a friend's wall:

♥When you carry a Rosary, Satan has a headache.
♥When you use it, he collapses.
♥When he sees you praying it, he faints.
♥Let us pray the rosary every time, so that he’ll keep fainting.
♥Did you also know that when you are about to share this post, Satan will try to discourage you?
♥Share it anyway and help hasten the triumph of Mother Mary!
♥Send this to your prayerful friends and see how the Holy Spirit works!
♥There is a great deal to gain and absolutely nothing to lose!

Well it seems that this Catholic friend has a brother that converted FROM Catholicism to Baptist -- basically my polar opposite. So I tried to ignore but much like anyone with an ounce of empathy I couldn't let it slide or not take up my new banner.

Unfortunately, I used to be very very good at bashing other religions. Coupled with my ability to read a person and hone in on their weaknesses I could carve a person up like a Christmas ham. For all those that I offend please forgive me. God has a great way of teaching us our failings. Mine was to get into a theological argument with a Senior Baptist Pastor.

This time I took a much different tact that I would have in old. I was kind. I tried to reign back my first two arguments as best I could. See I know his belief structure as well as he knows my new one. I know his arguments -- hell they were mine. The difference I believe is that I'm not hate filled. Sadly, for this Pastor the personal attack came out soon and quickly -- veiled in a "So, forgive me if I am misjudging your attitude, but condescension makes you neither right, nor smart; it only proves arrogance." Wow. I was floored. I'd expect this kind of response from a church goer but an actual Pastor? Really?

Specifically the two first attacks were pretty much standard fair: "Where in the bible does it give the Pope authority". And "The rosary is idolatry and shouldn't be prayed aloud". Without giving a blow by blow account of which I've fought on the other side countless times, I tackled those questions with biblical statements and references (the language that is not easily digested by Fundamentalists). The final statement was the most meaningful and one that many forget and certainly the kind pastor needs to remember "I take no offense. Suffice it to say, in a nutshell, my conversion is very similar to my wives -- the condemnation and lack of love; most often than not I've found my Baptist brethren to be, well, mean. And I was certainly one of the worst offenders. It was by Grace I didn't simply give up on God. Rarely do Baptists, or in general term Fundamentalists nurture and guide. It's a rare few that teach, preach and love -- I was lucky enough to have a grandfather who was a deacon who was all those things. As a pastor you're more than aware it's rarely the person your talking to that takes offense but the silent ones standing off to the side." 

Remember that the next time you attempt to "disprove" or attack faith. Love each as Jesus loved us. Remember this above all else, the rest for ALL Christians is little more than window dressing.