I posted some icons of Jesus and Mary at my desk at work, and my co-worker asked me if I’m Catholic. I said, “Not really [which is true, haven’t been confirmed in the Catholic Church] but I go to Catholic Mass. I used to be Protestant.”
Then he invited me to his evangelical church and gave me a card for his church.
He asked me why I decided to go to Catholic Church, and I couldn’t really say, “Because I believe it’s the true Church,” without causing offense, so I just said, “It felt more at home.”
How do I politely decline an invitation to another church without offending someone?
The bigger deal you make out of this, the bigger deal your co-worker will make out of it. Just keep it simple, and say, “No, thank you.” That’s polite but firm.
Because I am a convert to Catholicism from Evangelical Protestantism, I can tell you that your co-worker has everyone in his church praying for your “conversion” to Jesus Christ. So he will keep bothering you and giving you tracts, inviting you to Christian concerts and events at his church, and trying to hold discussions with you.
If your co-worker continues to bother you about this, you could politely tell him that you would prefer not to discuss this at work, and that he could get in trouble for creating a hostile work environment by bringing up religious topics.
HOWEVER…you yourself are in danger of having the same accusation made against you, and unfortunately, there is hard evidence that an accuser could use against. you. Those icons in your workspace could be used against you. I suggest that put your icons away at work. You are making it too easy for another worker to accuse you of creating a hostile work environment for them, and that could mean the end of your job.
The Lord tells us not to deny Him, but the Lord does not command us to display visible signs of our faith. He says that the world will know we are Christians by our love. IMO, risking your job is not “love.”
Based on my personal experience and conversion experience, I can assure you that the BEST way to witness of Catholicism to your Evangelical Protestant co-worker is to constantly demonstrate love to him. Anyone can argue apologetics for any “religion.” But constant love, year after year–that’s a true witness of Jesus Christ and His Church.
No. Stand your ground and DO NOT go. So tomorrow if someone invites you to a devil worship would you go out of politeness.
Tell him you are perusing the faith in the Catholic Church because you believe it to be the one true Church and he should respect your right to your own beliefs just as you respect his right to his belief.
I don’t think he’s one of those rabid anti-Catholic evangelicals.
I think most/many Protestants believe the Catholic Church is just one of many “legitimate” churches, so a Catholic going to Protestant church isn’t seen as a big deal — just worshipping together.
If I were to go, I would be praying silently that they may be led to the one holy Catholic apostolic Church…it seems dishonest to put on a happy face while praying that they may see and accept the true Church.
As for the icons at work: they’re pretty small, about the size of postcards, and they’re taped on the side of the desk so they’re not really visible from most angles. It doesn’t depict the Crucifixion, which I thought might get me in trouble at the workplace — just Jesus and Mary with halos. (And St. Albert the Great, patron saint of scientists. I can surely use his prayers.)
Speaking as a former anti-Catholic “evangelical” pastor, let me tell you what IS happening and what is going to happen.
Co-worker (who should be doing his job, not evangelizing on company time) sees the office as his “mission field”. YOU are his target.
At the Wednesday night “prayer meeting”, he is going to tell people he invited to church this poor, lost, unsaved Catholic, and would they pray for his “salvation”.
By the time you arrive, people will be told you are coming and will shower you with friendliness. Keep in mind, you are, in thier eyes, a poor lost Catholic.
The music will be emotional and stirring. You will be tempted to tap your toe and think “boy, I wish the CC was like this”.
“Preacher” will be informed and will (I would put money on this) make sure there are subtle mentions in his sermon about “works salvation”, and "you can only confess your sins to God, and “if you were to die tonight…”
There will be an invitation to be “saved” and you will be encouraged to “walk the aisle”, and “pray the prayer of salvation”.
YOU are a target. YOU are their project. The bait is there.
Take my advice, and don’t bite.
If you accepted then attend. It’s the polite thing to do.
If you haven’t committed and don’t want to just say “thank you for the invitation but I am going to have to decline.”
In my experience I have found Evangelicals to be so much less myopic, less bothersome and less convert driven than Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness.
I hung out with the Hillsong crowd in Sydney before I converted. They like to have a good time, alcohol/drug free and worship with their lungs and hand waving. Evangelicals are okay in my book. Mind you the evangelical crowd in Australia is probably different to the Evangelicals in America. Dunno.
Just to clarify I am talking my personal experience at a social level. I am not talking about Doctrine/theology etc. Just connecting on a human to human level.
Now if he’s willing to attend a Catholic Church in return (meaning he brings you and then you bring him) that’s a good time to evangelize. However, I would wait until you are strong enough in your faith to explain Catholic theology and beliefs.
Yup. You speak truth brother. Been there, done that
and it won’t happen again. In my case they sort
of rejected me cause they decided to call down the
Spirit on a bunch of people by pushing each person
in the forehead. Everybody else fell down backwards
and had to be helped up. When it was my turn to get
punched in the forehead nothing happened. I didn’t fall
down, didn’t faint nothing. I was very embarrassed. At the
potluck afterwards I was avoided.
End of story.
Lesson? Punching cradle Catholics in the forehead
has little effect.
Sigh you are correct on that. Having said that, these are usually one off events. I don’t think it would be a regular thing and he did not participate in Holy Communion.
I guess laypeople do get confused because of all the intricacies of what is acceptable or not acceptable when attending worship services of Prots.
Is once in a blue moon okay? Is once a month okay? Is every other weekend okay as some inter-denominational married people do? Is NEVER preferred? Is attending SDA service every Saturday and Mass every Sunday okay. The questions are endless.
^This…especially since you know him to a degree, seems most likely to me. Years ago I invited a Catholic friend to my Evangelical church. At that time, like many Evangelicals, and probably like your co-worker, I had no idea that the CC considered itself the one and only true church, so it never occurred to me to think I was giving offense. I was just being friendly, and she wasn’t attending any church at the time.
I’ve been in a few Evangelical churches where people I knew to be from Catholic backgrounds were visiting, and I can say with assurance that no-one targeted them.
No. I am not equating the two as the same. I am just providing the other extreme case. While I do not have a problem with other churches, I do believe in the one true Catholic Church and so why go to one of lesser value. Like another poster said. You are the target and it is their mission to convert you. The other poster was a former protestant preacher. Let’s say that comes from the horse’s mouth.
We American evangelicals of the Hillsong variety are by and large the same. There are a lot of churches in America that are similar in ethos to Hillsong. It’s actually a trend setter in American evangelicalism.
(What is it with Sydney? Not only do you guys have Hillsong, but you also have Sydney Anglicans. It’s like an evangelical powerhouse over there.)
Of course, America is a big place, and evangelicalism is a broad movement. There are some who are out to convert everyone and anyone, and in reality, they turn me off by the way they treat people as projects rather than as people that they should just love and be willing to share their faith when opportunities arise.
I can’t really say what motives the OP’s coworker harbors. The OP is really in the best position to judge the coworkers’ motives.
The Pope had a reason to go. The Pope had an agenda. His goal was to soften and increase dialog with our Lutheran brothers so they might one day return to the Catholic family (either has part of the Roman Rite or as a "Lutheran Use, like the Anglican Use).
The Pope visited a Mosque to expand dialog with Muslims, with hope of one day spreading the Gospel to them.
The Pope had reasons to go, he didn’t just blindly accept an invitation. Also, the Pope is obviously solid in his understanding of Christ’s Church. There is not concern that he will one day get confused and stop being Catholic.
For us normal laity, it doesn’t make much sense attend services from other Faiths with different theologies without reason. Especially, when we are still a novice in theology. It’s important for people to study and practice their own Faith and theology first, before sampling another. Otherwise, you get lost and hooked on the superficial reasons vs the deep theology.
That’s why I did mention that if she were to go with him, then he should go with her to a catholic mass. But I don’t think a many of use are ready to have deep theological discussions with others to explain the “whys” until we have learned enough theology to do so (not saying need a degree, but do need to understand the underlining theology before you can be an apologist)