I am participating in a discussion group (for me online; for others, either online and/or IRL) with the First Lutheran Church of Jamestown, N.Y. on the book, Holy Conversation: Talking About God in Everyday Life by Richard Peace. I was invited to the group by Tara Lamont Eastman, with whom I have become acquainted through the blog Sleeping with Bread and now her own blog Uphill Idealist. This will be my second post as part of that group. The first post can be found here; the second, here.
The third discussion point is based on the questions: “Have you ever tried to share your faith story, conversion story or gospel message with anyone? If so, what did you say and how did the person respond? What was their reaction to your story and how did you feel when you shared it?”
When I first read these questions, what immediately came to mind were two pieces I wrote for my blog Journeying with the Saints. One was entitled “This author’s ‘conversion story’” and the other, “On My Becoming Catholic: Excerpts from the journal of a convert 1991-1995″ leading up to my entering the Catholic Church in 1995.
I received a few reactions to the first post via comments, including this one from a blogger (Jennifer) The Literate Housewife:
Wow. I really appreciate you sharing your story. I am a cradle Catholic, but I am not practicing. I constantly have nudges, though. I believe that you commenting on my blog was another such nudge. At one point in my life I considered joining a religious community. I asked my local priest to be my spiritual advisor and The Spiritual Exercises is what he asked me to do. I didn’t do it very well, but it might be something to give a try. God wants me to return, but I’ve got to make the effort. Thank you.
My response at the time was this:
I’m not trying to be smart, but I believe when the time comes, you won’t have to make the effort. That’s the way grace works.
This past Friday, I received a direct message via Twitter from Jennifer:
Been meaning 2 tell u that I’ve returned 2 the Catholic Church. The girls r in CCD & I’ll b starting their Welcome Home program post Easter.
I believe it is grace that has led her home.
As for the second post, I’ve received zero responses on my blog, but IRL (in real life), it has “touched” countless candidates in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adutls) classes at the parish where I was confirmed, I have learned within the last couple of years. My parents, still Protestant, mentioned to me they had met my former RCIA instructors at a pro-life rally, who told my parents that they handed out those excerpts to candidates.
When my parents told me and then my former RCIA instructors told me the same thing later, I was a bit surprised because I didn’t sugarcoat my doubts in those excerpts, especially in regards to the news that was just coming to light about sexually abusive priests:
What has led me here? Am I blind to the corruption of the last 2,000 years, the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc? Carrying right through up to our time, misappropriation of funds, pedophilia, homosexuality among the priesthood? How can I be blind to such things, how can anyone?
I didn’t have answers to those questions then…
…and I still don’t, but regardless, I still believe.
Why do you believe in what you believe? What’s your story? Or if you don’t believe in anything, why not? I mean, really, what the heck is your story anyway? Hey, not that I’m judging or anything .