Monday, September 19, 2005

Protestant Thoughts

I wrote a blog once about going to both a Catholic mass and a Baptist service on the same day. I noted the differences in the two styles of worship and my thoughts about it.

Today the funeral service I attended had a very Baptist flavor. I heard a lot of "Amens" shouted by those in attendance. And we heard the usual spiel about having a relationship with Christ and it is just so simple to do. I happen to know that a relationship with Christ is anything but simple. It is not simply saying a little prayer in your heart. It takes work to live and act like a Christian. And it is an ongoing process. And when satan gets involved (as he usually does), it's even harder.

That is why I stepped away from church a long time ago. It got too difficult. I saw a lot of hypocrisy. It got really old.

But I'm not dissin' the Baptists per se. There are some truly righteous (rather than self-righteous) people out there. I think my friend Bret is quite sincere and a true man of God. And he is a Southern Baptist Preacher.

And it's not to say that those who are not Catholic are not going to heaven or anything like that. But for me, I find more truth and history in the Catholic church. I also think that I am more likely to live more Christ-like as a Catholic than I ever would as a Baptist or any other denomination. I like the accountability of confession in the Catholic church. It does make me nervous to think about my first confession as I have a WHOLE lot to tell. But when you simply have to silently pray as one does in most protestant denominations, it's easier to keep sinning in the same way. It was for me at least.

I love the ritual of the Catholic Church. I love the fact that Catholics truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I keep hearing how amazing it is and I cannot wait until next Easter Vigil when I can take part in it. That is why Catholics kneel as Christ becomes present in the bread and wine. It is true adoration.

I've seen spirit-filled churches where people are singing and praising, jumping up and down, raising their hands and all of that, but to me it's just emotion. It's not to say Christ is not present because I am certain He is, but I feel that there is just as much if not more veneration going on in the solemnity of a Catholic mass. I have noticed that Catholics generally don't make a big show of their faith, but they do live Christian lives. I like the fact that if I meet a Catholic, they are not going to ask me about my relationship with Christ. They are not going to ask me if I have been "saved." My answer now is, yes, I have been saved and I am being saved and I hope to be saved. Because although protestants will disagree, I strongly feel that one can lose faith. I've heard the song and dance about how if someone was "saved" but isn't living a Christian life, then they either truly weren't saved because their faith wasn't real or how they have fallen, but they are still "saved" and will go to Heaven because nobody can lose salvation. To me, that's a bunch a baloney. I believe that as a Christian we must have both faith and works and that faith, indeed, can be lost or at least put on the shelf for a while. As I mentioned before, I have struggled with faith, but I find it growing stronger the more I attend mass and pray.

If I have offended anyone that is protestant, I do not mean to do so. These are just my thoughts and my reasons for choosing the Catholic Church. No matter what path each of us follow, if we claim to be Christian, we are at least one in Christ.

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