Kairos – Now Is The Time
By Nick P.
So as I have repeatedly told people around, anyone who would listen, I am Catholic.
After all, it even says it on the homepage of this blog.
I say it like it’s some badge of honor to wear, or as if I am trying to be abrasive right away, being the Catholic vs. Protestant issues that have been throughout the centuries.
Yet, as I attend a Methodist Church, I find that I feel at home, and yet at the same time conflicted.
It’s as if I don’t want to worship with Methodists, because.. Well… they’re Protestants.
Yet I see more faith and action in the lives of these people than I have with many of the Catholics I got to know.
The shining example was the fact that I went to a Catholic Church with my wife on a Saturday night, and we were obviously new faces in the crowd.
And were welcomed by no one.
I even had my Knights of Columbus placard on my jacket, and yet no one spoke to us.
It’s as if this brand of Catholicism is only for those who are from the neighborhood, and born into the church.
Not being born into the church, but being one that came into it because I felt called to it, I find it unacceptable to not be welcomed to a church that I feel I belong to.
I think the final nail in the coffin for me was this morning.
I called the Catholic Church down the street from my house (different church from previous example), interested in being a sponsor for RCIA, and was told I needed to bring a litany of paperwork in. Proving I was Catholic, proving I am even baptized. My marriage certificate and they would be investigating whether or not my marriage was valid in the Church.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
He said, “For my yoke is easy; my burden, light.”
He didn’t say I needed a ton of paperwork. All I needed to do was accept him fully.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes of the Law would require all of that. It seems a bit hypocritical to me, to be honest.
I feel so welcomed, so invited, so called to worship with the group of Methodists that I have gotten to know in the short period of time, that I feel that I am already a member of this body of Christ.
As one of the associate pastors at the church I have been attending said, “Put away the Catholic and Protestant stuff. Just be a member of the Church. Just be a Christian.”
The Catholic Church makes it hard to be a member. You have to follow certain rules that they have made over hundreds of years. Rules regarding marriage. Regarding whether or not you can receive Communion, just based on if you are Catholic or not. I do not feel that is what Christ intended when he said to the Apostles, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it. This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
I see nowhere in that where it said that if you are divorced and take another wife that you are excluded from the table.
And that, right there, is what is the crux of all this.
Do I really need the Catholic Church’s blessing on my marriage?
A marriage that we feel was called by God, and blessed by Him because He called us together to be married and live out our lives by His teachings.
No, I don’t.
Nor do I need to feel excluded from the table, to feel that way because I was called to marry this woman, this child of God who also felt called to marry me.
Therefore, I am making a permanent decision.
I am removing the term ‘Catholic’, but not renouncing Christ.
As the Pastor of the church I attended in Reno would say, “You are loved, forgiven, and saved. Nothing you can do will make God love you more, and nothing you can do will make God love you less.”
He died for me, He loves me, and I am forgiven for all my sins.
All of them.
Including the sin of pride of wanting to throw my Catholicism in the face of those who would be my brothers and sisters.
Instead, I will immerse into the Methodist Church that I have been attending with my wife, and become a full member of the church.
Do I still feel conflicted?
Yes, I do.
It’s letting go of the known and moving into the unknown, and that always causes conflict within a person.
Do I feel that I am jumping off the diving board into 10 feet of water?
Yet I know also that I have lifeguards there to make sure I do not drown, that I find my stride, and my stroke as I learn to swim all over again.
In the end, I know that this is the right thing to do, for me, for my family, and ultimately for those who I wish to serve. And disciple to.
I believe that the next phase of my journey of faith is a simple one: just be a Christian, and find what that means for me.
Yes, I know it sounds so simple, but we do what we can to complicate the simple teachings of Christ. Or at least I did, by wearing my Catholicism like some type of armor.
Instead, I will just armor myself with the Word of God, and allow Jesus to shield me from danger when it is intended to harm me and to be vulnerable for him so I can walk in his path.
So what does being a Christian mean to you? Are you having struggles in your faith because of the denomination you are part of? Do you feel that there’s something getting in the way of a REAL relationship between you and Jesus Christ? What are you struggling with?
I would love to hear it from you, and let us grow together through sharing our struggles. Together we can become the stronger, more unified Body of Christ, and find that no matter where we are with our faith journey as Christians, that we all celebrate and remember the one Lord and Savior, Jesus.