Recently my younger brother told myself and my parents that he had been sexually assaulted by a leader in our teen group during an outreach event during the huge power outages this past summer in Ohio. Needless to say it was reported to the church and to children’s services and is still under investigation, but that’s besides the point. Because of all this myself and the rest of my family have had a really hard time being a part of our local Nazarene Church and it just feels like every time we walk in that people are watching us and judging us as if we have done something wrong though we have not, we are just doing the right thing by reporting what happened. Needless to say I think some of you can relate to some of the feelings going through our house right now.
Anyway, I have begun considering leaving the Nazarene Church after 16 years of attending it. I have grown up with the typical misconceptions about Catholicism, but have always been attracted to it personally. Being Nazarene our distinctive doctrine is Christian Holiness or Entire Sanctification which is something the two churches can really share in, I believe. I just graduated this past May from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a B.A. Pastoral Ministry and have begun this Fall attending the graduate program there as a MMin student and will be pursuing an MDiv and eventually PhD or Doctoral work. I am also a district licensed Nazarene Minister (unassigned) so I am very well trained in matters of doctrine, theology, doing church, various beliefs, etc which also has helped me to realize that Nazarene’s and Catholics have a lot more in common than in the matter in which we differ, other than folks that have fundamentalist thoughts that is, and trace our roots back to John Wesley and the Church of England so we are not really associated with the Reformed churches. I had considered the Episcopal church, but recent history with being liberal on moral/social issues leads me back to Mother, Roman Catholic Church.
Is there a place for me? I really feel called to be a Pastor/Teacher, not crazy about the whole celibate thing, but not opposed to it either since I am single and don’t really feel pressured to get involved in any sort of relationship with anyone and so I believe I would be fine with becoming a priest and stuff. I love to study church history, theology, Bible, and all that stuff and I love to teach people about it and would love to make a vocation out of it and have a great skill set, I believe.
Where do I begin? How do I discern all this? Who do I talk too? I’m just so confused right now and have been praying and just can’t seem to get Catholicism off my mind as the change to make. Any and all help you all can give is greatly appreciated.
In HIS Service,