OK, need some advice. What would you do??

My wife attends an evangelical Church and one of my best friends is the youth pastor there. The 2nd weekend of November they are having a men’s retreat which last year I balied myself out of going. This year he tells me I have no excuse. My favorite college football team is not playing that weekend!! :slight_smile: He promised me there is no attempt to try and convert people or anything like that. No religious bashing of other faiths. There is only 1 conference and that is that night. THe rest of the time is basically spent talking sports and doing things guys do (minus beer) I’m sure it would be fine but there is still that small part of me that would feel guilty about going. Everyone knows I’m Catholic and have no problem with me, in fact most of teh people there like me and have NEVER tried to ask silly questions about am I saved, is Jesus your Lord and Savior. Heck I eevn play in a softball league with abotu 10 of them. I know many more people at her Church then I do my own Catholic because I go to a large old Parish and really have no friends there.

So what should I do?? Am I treading into very dangerous waters here. I am mediocre when it comes to debating my faith. When it comes to basic stuff, I’m fine. Like I said though, I would doubt seriously anyone will try and convert me. They seem to be rather friendly towards Catholics since the Pastor admits one of his best friends is Roman Catholic and they always have debates he says. What should I do? I’m really torn here. My friend is bugging me to go and is saying no excuses. Majority rules here. Help me out folks!!

I’m no expert on these things… but do know that you don’t necessarily have to be a great apologist in order to witness to the Faith of the Church. You can be a very strong witness just by being a good, moral, helpful, friendly Catholic guy. I don’t see any problem with going to an event like this, since you’re going to be among friends.

I’d go… and bring a Catechism and a New American Catholic Bible.
You don’t have to be an expert in apologetics… just know how to look it up! :thumbsup: You’ll be surprised how easy it is to defend the faith without “knowing” much! :slight_smile:

Go. What is the worst thing that could happen. Nobody can force you to change your religion except yourself. And if you are strong in your faith you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You could actually enjoy yourself and there are people going that you know so you will not feel left out. And they are also aware of your religious beliefs and I am sure that they will respect that.

Just because they haven’t asked you stupid “are you saved” questions yet, doesn’t mean they aren’t angling! Or waiting for the opportunity. And the relaxed retreat is a great opportunity to do what Evangelicals do by name and nature. And you aren’t prepared! You say you are just “mediocre” about debating your faith.

If you really must go, at least bring a good thick catechism! If you get stuck unprepared in an “improptu” debate, say you’ll get back to them on that point. Then look it up while you’re there, in your catechism! Really, don’t go without that. If you don’t have one, paperbacks are readily available at big bookstores.

Other questions, bring here to CA forum after.

It really doesn’t seem so good to listen to Evangelical Theology if its not balanced with your own Catholic Theology training. If your church has nothing good to offer (too often the case) there is plenty of learning available elsewhere.

You are blessed with the great grace of being Catholic and you should protect it! Its tempting when the Evangelicals offer such pleasant fellowship. It is hard to find the like elsewhere. I know because I was Evangelical. But, *I’d rather have Jesus than **anything **this world affords today. *

Only the Catholic Chruch has the true and real presence of Jesus. The Evangelicals offer other nice things. Their friendly fellowship is a great creature comfort. But compared to the real presence of Jesus, and to being in the Church that Jesus established, where He places the fullness of truth and the fullness of his graces - in the ordinary but extrordinary Sacraments!

Only you know if this retreat is a temptation away from that.
If anything might tempt you away from the great gift God has already bestowed on you, throw it out!

What would happen if you said you aren’t interested in going?

I do not understand why you cannot simply tell your friend, “Thank you for inviting me but I am not interested in going.” You don’t need an “excuse”, you just need to tell him you don’t want to go. Period. End of discussion. If he doesn’t quit bugging you then just say, “I appreciate that you want me to go, but I am not going and the subject is closed. Please respect me and my decision by not bringing it up any more.” If he still continues, then you know that he is not as much of a “friend” as you thought.

You owe him no reason or explanation as to why you do not want to go.

And, my other advice is to get involved in your parish and meet people. Join the Knights of Columbus, or bible study, or volunteer for the parish bazaar-- anything that will help you meet solid Catholics and begin to grown in your Catholic faith.

Forgot to ask . . . why is the youth pastor so fired up to get you on this retreat? Why is it so important to him?

When I go on retreat, I want a weekend full of talks, meditation time, Mass every day, spiritual direction, confession etc.

One talk and the rest sports? Sounds like there will be plenty of time for fellowship/ evangelism.


Are you feeling guilty because your friend is selling something you don’t want to buy, because you think Catholics shouldn’t attend evangelical retreats, because you are a little antsy about going on retreat, period…or what?

Ask you wife how she feels about it, then talk to your own pastor. Don’t expect him to forbid you to go…you might, though, expect to hear: “How come you pass up my men’s retreats and now feel so beholden to go to this one, huh, buddy?” :wink: Seriously, though, the answer to whether or not you should go will have a lot to do with why you are trying to avoid it.

There is nothing wrong with a Catholic man being on a retreat and sharing his faith with other Christian men, nor with him listening to their stories of how God works in their lives. Males can have a really hard time sharing their spirituality with others…hence all the carrots this poor youth pastor seems to feel compelled to add to this event. If you have been to a Catholic men’s retreat in which the men actually devote themselves to spiritual renewal for the whole time, you might want to share what that is like with these other guys. It could be an eye-opener for them.

Former non-denom evangelical here… if you feel it is important to your wife and friend that you attend, there are 2 things that you need to take along. The Catechism AND your Bible – very important, should you need to refer to the CCC that you cite not only the CCC but the scriptural references it gives for the teaching. If you are not familiar with the Bible, chapter and verse to defend beliefs, then go up to the Catholic Answers shopping area and order a set of the scripture tabs, they are a MUST HAVE item for discussing faith with non-Catholic Christians. It is sometimes difficult for cradle Catholics to understand the kind of knowledge of the Bible that these people have and in order to discuss faith with them, you need to be able to speak their language. That language is knowing book/chapter and verse in the Bible.

So, the other advice I’d give – make a deal with those who want you to go. You will be happy to go with them if they will go to a Catholic retreat/conference with you (and find one so the dates and places are known).

I wouldn’t go. And I agree with the poster who said you don’t need to give any excuses to this man. Surely he must know that he is placing you in an awkward situation, at the very least. What kind of “friend” does that? I’m sorry, but the whole thing sounds like a set up to me. And I was once one of those people who would have set up a situation like this to try to “win” those I thought weren’t really, truly Christian because they weren’t what I was. Whenever your antenna go up listen to them. You are in no way obligated to go to such a one-sided “conference.” Just bow out gracefully or find yourself defending your beliefs before a room full of men whose one purpose is to get you to abandon your Catholic faith. This is the voice of experience.

Oh, and get yourself a concordance to level the playing field, too. Catholics think that Protestants know where every chapter and verse is in the Bible. It turns out that most Protestant Bibles have this little index in the back that helps you find the phrase you want.

By the way, I think that youth pastor friend of yours would probably benefit greatly from a weekend retreat of silence and contemplation at a local monastery. If he is like most youth pastors, he runs from dawn until night. Some time for rest and reflection might be quite a revelation for him. Make him promise that if you go to his, he’ll come with you to yours. With just the two of you, the monastery will usually be able to help you schedule something specifically for you two. Someone there is bound to be an old hand at ministering to ministers!

Given your feelings, I would not go. If he truly is your best friend, explain to him you aren’t going to be comfortable in that environment & really have no interest in attending. If he is your friend, he will understand and not pressure you.

The pitch he gave reminds me of an Amway pitch–“just come and listen”-something to be wary of.:thumbsup:

Ok, there are actually 3 different speakers talking about basically how men are to be accountable. Such as (spirtual leaders of the house, moral ethics and standards in the workplace and to spread God’s message to others not just between the 4 walls of the Church) that’s the main topics in a nutshell. I think my friend Denny just wants me to go so he can have someone else to bond with. With our busy lives and families he thinks it’s a good opportunity.

To answer the one person’s question about invite him to a Catholic event. I’ve tried and he won’t do it. He says he can’t because of his position in the Church. That’s kind of B.S. if you know what I mean.

I don’t have a Cathecism but I do have the Good NEws Translation St. Joe’s version Bible. Honestly I’m not extremely keen on going. I’m not sure what everything else entails besides the fellowship and the topics discussed but I DON’T want to get suckered into some Benny Hinn type healing or Praise and Worship Rock an Roll type service. That I don’t feel comfortable at all in those type of settings and would likely not participate.

get yourself a copy of the Catechism and a copy of the new Concordium. It is really helpful.

I would also urge you to find a way to get involved at the Parish…it sounds like you need to make some friends there and the way I made friends at my parish was to dive in and start volunteering.

If you don’t want to go, don’t go. It doesn’t sound like you are going to get anything out of it spiritually. You can play sports and socialize with your friends any time.

check with your church and see if there are any up coming Catholic men’s retreats. sign up for one of those. Invite your friend to you but don’t push if he says no .

I know there is one the first weekend in December in Louisiana.

First - EVERY Catholic should have a copy of the CCC :slight_smile: You can pick up a paperback at your local mega bookstore (barnes and nobel, booksamillion, etc.) for $7. The new Compendium is available, it is $12 on Amazon.

Second, if you don’t want to go, don’t go (and the idea that your friend cannot go because of his position sounds like arrogant BS). If you want to draw a parallel - use your marriage. You are happily married, so, tell your friend that while you might have a conversation with another woman, you are married and would not go on a weekend trip with another woman, your commitment is to your wife. In the same way, while you can have friendship and fellowship with other Christians, you cannot go on a retreat with them, your commitment is to the Church.

Early on people were saying go but it seems to me more and more people are saying stay away. This is just a men’s retreat so there won’t be any women there. I am not the most well schooled in arguments defending faith and I’m afraid if it got into that. That might not go so well. In thinking too I would not want others thinking WOW!! John is here maybe he is seeing the light!! That’s awesome and some might go overboard and think this is a time to bait him in. Not saying this is going to happen but being Evangelicals and anyone who believes so much into their faith that is only natural. I’m sure we would all think the same if a Non Catholic came to a Catholic retreat.

I know he may think it’s me being arrogant but I can always ask him would you come to a Catholic retreat if I was allowed to bring him. I know what that answer would be. I’ll let you know down the road what his response is.

To clarify, I did understand this is a men’s only retreat. My parallell between marriage and church seems to have failed :slight_smile:

In most cases, I’d bet your gut is correct. The bottom line agenda for having you there is to have you come to a “conversion experience”. In fact, it is likely your salvation from Catholicism is on the prayer list…

Still, if you want to go, do not be afraid - just get tools you need to defend your faith.

Kage, you are probably right. They may have that on a secret prayer list and since you have to sign up beforehand they will notice that I will be attending, since I never ever really participate in things like this before and someone besides my friend, maybe more may go out of their way to make me feel really a part of it and tell me how great it is that I am here. Which is all nice and fuzzy but I could see that being a hidden agenda to have some Holy Spirit occurance and all of the sudden boom you have been saved!!

On in all these are good guys don’t get me wrong. I do wish I had a Parish close to my house where I knew more people so I would feel at ease to get involved and get to know more. I’m one of those people who doesn’t have the type of personality to just walk in somewhere and start talking to people. Trust me, if there was a good Catholic retreat where I could get a friend to go here in Louisville I would try and go. I’m just not going to go to one if I don’t know someone.

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