Today I’ve had a rather unusual experience that’s got me thinking hard about my Catholic faith and I’d like to invite some comment.
To make a long story short, I’ve managed to get myself “kicked off” Catholic Lane today; I and the senior editor disagreed vigorously about…something. I’m still not entirely sure what I said that she didn’t like, but that’s not something I can address right now. The argument stems from argument regarding how we ought to address Protestant concerns.
Keep in mind, after reviewing some of the editor’s other writings, I admit I insinualted something about her character in a way that I shouldn’t. My apologies to the editor on that count. I didn’t state my case as well as I might.
The exchange has me thinking more deeply about how I or others interact with Protestants though.
Many of us have heard questions like, “Have you been saved?” or “Do you know Jesus?” or something similar. I’ve always been rather flummoxed with those; I’ve usually been inclined to say, “I’m Catholic”, and assume that says it all. Beings I’ve never felt that’d accomplish much, I’ve usually just murmured something inconsequential and allowed the moment to pass.
I’ve heard that we ought to answer “Yes”, or something equally brief, or we ought to say “Christ” more often, but I’ve never felt comfortable with those answers. Today, I have cause to contemplate why.
As I consider the question, I find I can’t readily say “yes” or something similar in good conscience because…that’s not what I believe in. Our respective faith traditions don’t teach quite the same things about God, about Christ, about the Holy Spirit, or even about the sacraments.
I don’t believe I’ve been saved. Not yet. I’m not dead yet, so I’m still a work in progress.
If I tell a person that I’ve been saved because I understand the origin of the question, isn’t it possible that I’ve allowed myself to become culpable of neglect? I know very well what HE, the Protestant means, but if I don’t believe what he believes, shouldn’t I technically say “No”? After the average Protestant recovers from that shock and wishes to “save” me or tell me about his friend Jesus, do I wait for him to finish? Or do I tell him that I’m Catholic and don’t believe half the doctrine he’s trying to propose?
How can I do any of these things without taking a serious risk of offending the person or boring them?
I believe in God, my Lord and Savior; I believe in Christ, his Son, our Lord, who died on the cross to transform me into being able to accept his grace. I believe in the Holy Spirit, who tugs everlastingly upon my conscience and soul to lead back to the Father.
While some Protestant denominations believe in the Trinity, some don’t. I’m not sure I can answer some of their questions in a manner they’ll understand without inherently either neglecting something…or leaving them bored or aggravated with something they’ve never believed.
So how do I answer these questions?