Sunday, October 30, 2005 

Our second meeting with Father

For this meeting, we were assigned to read the first 100 pages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Almost none of this is new information, but it's important reading. We held this meeting a Fr. K's rectory. We discussed what we read. The meetings are enjoyable and educational.

Fr. K said yes to the question that our dog, Bo, will be going to heaven with us, which is reassuring. I agree. God gave us pets to love, why would he take them away from us in heaven? I know this is not the most important theoligical question of our day, but it is important to us. U

Sunday, October 23, 2005 

Our first meeting with Father

Sunday morning, we went to Catholic Mass. We've been going for a couple of weeks now, since we left the Lutheran church. People are friendly, are we have some long-time friends that we're sitting with. That makes the transition easier.

Sunday night was our first meeting with Father K., who is the senior pastor of the parish. I met with Father K. previously and privately to discuss our possible conversion. That meeting went extremely well. He was warm and friendly, and very understanding. He agreed that we could go through an independent study process rather than RCIA. RCIA is actually meant for the non-baptized or people who have not been active in a church. We are baptized and active, so that didn't really apply to us. Still we understood that Father K. was doing us a service, since sometimes people in our situation get placed in RCIA anyway.

We are going through this process with another couple, Ken and Brenda. Ken is my best friend. He is a cradle-Catholic and very active and knowledgeable. He will be sponsor to his wife and me. My wife's sponsors will be her brother and sister-in-law. The four of us and Father K. had a nice prime rib dinner at our house (yes, we are trying to make a good impression) and then sat for conversation. We discussed our conversion process. Father K answered our questions. We agreed on a plan that would consist of independent study at Father's direction, and several meetings with him that would take place over the next few months. I was hoping for a quick and easy process that would have us communing by Advent, but he wanted a more deliberate manner. I see the wisdom in his plan, but I am the type that wants everything done yesterday, so I was a little disappointed. Still, it looks like we are on track to be in full communion by Lent. U

Monday, October 10, 2005 

Christian Encounter Weekend

I just returned from a Christian Encounter weekend. I've been on these weekends several times as a worker, and I made my first weekend five years ago. These weekends are always awesome. We had about 60 guys from all over the area. Some of the guys give talks, and we hear a few talks by priests. We eat well - which is an understatement. And we bond as Christian men; we laugh, talk, and reflect. Some of my favorite pictures of Jesus show Him smiling or laughing. My words do not do justice to the power and fun of these weekends - yes, I said fun. Having good, clean fun is an important Christian value in my book, and we have an abundance of that. Women bond when they cry, but men bond when they laugh.

The weekend is Catholic, but all Christians are welcome. It is not meant to convert anybody, but rather to strengthen your relationship with Christ. Men and women go on separate weekends. No one has ever knocked a protestant church here. Of the 60 guys here, only a handful of us are protestant, yet I have always felt belonging and acceptance. These past five years of attending these weekends has opened my eyes to the Catholic Church.

In some of the protestant churches I have attended in the past, Catholicism got a bad reputation. Especially as a child I was told that Catholics aren't true Christians. They worship statues and the Virgin Mary, and they don't believe that Christ is risen, which is why they show Christ still on the cross in the crucifix, instead of the empty cross of the protestants.

I now know that these things aren't true, but it took time. When you are taught these things in church as a child, you grow up believing them. In fairness, The more recent protestant churches I have attended were not Catholic-bashers. I hope this is because people are more educated than they used to be. I hope we are all becoming more united as Christians. U

Sunday, October 02, 2005 

Sunday's sermon - we won't be back

The subject of todays sermon was the changes in our communion policy. Pastor explained that this new policy is more "welcoming" to non-baptized persons who want to take communion (though we currently don't have any non-baptized persons in the church who will now be taking communion.) He explained that this was not a unanimous vote in council, that there were detractors. He went on to explain our concerns, but certainly not in the way that we would have explained them. As he pointed out our concerns, he explained why we were wrong! I feel betrayed. He has minimized our concerns and therefore minimized those of us who disagreed with him.

My wife sobbed quietly throughout most of the sermon. This is our last worship at this church. I will have to resign as president. I can't stay now to finish my term; that would be hypocritical.

I don't want to portray this pastor as a bad person. He is someone I care about and have worked closely with. We agree on many more things than we disagree, but this current disagreement is fundamental. I don't feel that I can talk to him right now. Today's sermon has alienated me. U

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