I can certainly understand both sides of this issue. At the moment, my husband and I don’t own any Catholic t-shirts. We’ve thought about it, but we agree that it is a risk.
On the other hand, evangelical Christians respond to t-shirt witnessing. We know this from years of experience as evangelical Christians. Those of you who are cradle Catholics are shocked and horrified, but that’s because you are from a different background than us. Evangelicals would be shocked and horrified that you’re shocked and horrified over t-shirts and “Jesus” merchandise!
Remember, Paul said that in order to win some souls, we need to be all things to all people. We personally see no sin in wearing the Name of Jesus. One of the readings this past Sunday was the passage in Deuteronomy that said that we need to wear the Word of God on our foreheads. There is another passage in Deuteronomy that talks about hanging the Word of God in your house and reading it when you wake up and when you go to bed. It seem that there is an implied Biblical approval of “wearing” or displaying the Word of God in such a way that it is visible to us and others.
What is the difference between wearing the Name of Jesus on a T-shirt, and carrying a banner with His Holy Name, or wearing a Crucifix with His Holy Image? I cannot see a difference. And I think many evangelicals would agree with me. If you want to say, “Well, that’s not the way Catholics think”–well, I spent 40 years as an evangelical Protestant and for this reason, I will probably never think totally the way a cradle Catholic thinks. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. Being former evangelical Protestant means that I am able to correctly assess what will be effective in witnessing to evangelical Protestants, and what will fall flat and fail and offend them. This is something that you as a cradle Catholic can never do–understand the mind of an evangelical Protestant. I do understand the mind, because I had that mind for most of my life and still have much of the mindset. And I’m not ashamed to say it–I think that Catholics NEED to be more outspokenly “evangelical!” And that means more than just being holy. It means speaking up.
I wish to high heaven that some of YOU had spoken up years and years ago, when my husband and I were evangelical Protestants! Maybe if we had seen one of the T-shirts that some of you are posting on this thread, maybe we would have asked questions about the Catholic Church sooner and maybe we would have become Catholic many years ago, while we still had young children, instead of having to wait for years and years to finally come home to this wonderful Church!
We know many good and holy Catholics, but they didn’t tell us what they knew! I wish they had “evangelized” us! I wish they had gotten in our faces and spelled out Catholic apologetics and told us all about the history of the Church and pointed out how we were missing the whole point of John 6–I WISH THEY HAD SAID SOMETHING instead of being quiet and meek. Are you hearing what I’m saying?!! There are thousands and thousands of our friends and family who have no idea what Catholicism is all about! If we don’t tell them, who will?
I read a lot of posts on this board condemning Protestants in their errors. The Bible says that if we fail to tell them about God, WE will be held accountable for their failure to believe. Do you take that seriously? We do. Sitting around being holy isn’t going to bring evangelicals to the Catholic Church, because they are also very very holy, holier than many Catholics. They won’t see the difference. They have to be TOLD verbally.
I should not complain. God’s timing is perfect. Thanks be to God for His mercy in bringing us home in His own time. He knows best.
But I feel for evangelical Protestant brothers and sisters who are still searching. If a t-shirt can light their way home, I’ll wear it.
As far as I know, the Vatican has NOT condemned or forbidden these T-shirts and other Catholic merchandise, have they? Until they do, it seems to me that we all have the freedom to choose to purchase and use this material–or to choose not to purchase and use it.
One thought that I had was to have a t-shirt made with the following slogan: “We were kicked out of our evangelical Protestant church. Ask us where we go to Church now.”
It doesn’t insult or trivialize Jesus or the Catholic Church, does it? It tells people the truth about what happened to us and invites them to ask us more.