Please help with my Baptist family!


#1

I have been in RCIA for about 6 months now, and I have fervently studied the Church long before that. Anyway, I am having such a hard time because everytime I get around or talk to my family, all they want to talk about is all the “crazy stuff” we Catholics believe. I grew up in a Baptist church and was baptized there when I was 12, so I know what they believe. Everytime I talk to them they always have some degrading comment that they think about the Church and it upsets me so much that it drives me crazy. :frowning: I have talked to my wife about how to approach the situation and she says if I just say “I dont want to talk about it” that it makes me look like I really dont know what I believe, and also, if it is important to me I NEED to discuss it with them when they have a question. I believe I do, but its becoming such a burden and stressful that it consumes me. I know I should pray for help and I do everyday but do any of you have suggestions on how I should approach this??? Please help!!!

                          God bless you,
                          David

#2

Check out 2-Minute Apologetics from the Bible Christian Society. That should help immensely. I came from a Baptist background myself. :smiley:


#3

Well as your coming into the faith I don’t think it is a good idea to get involved with debate, ( well not into heated debate ) if they have any questions or want to** genuinely know **anything about Catholicism then ask them to come here, if not just keep your answers short and sweet, or hand them a copy of the CCC. or direct them to the online version.

Other than that…:shrug: well this site has a minefield of info.


#4

I would suggest that you not feel like you have to have all the answers at the tip of your tongue. I, too, am a convert, former S. Baptist. My family has made the occasional comment or asked questions. I do try to answer them but I don’t feel bad if I have to say that I have to get back to them on “fill in the question/blank.”

Actually, if I were in your shoes, I think I would pick just one of the comments made, study up on it (of course, including Biblical references, since this will be what they value) then go back and say to them, casually: Remember when you asked me about “X?” Well, I found the answer…and procede to discuss it with them.

Try to see it as eating an elephant one bite at a time. It may also be helpful for you to know that after I have used this technique a couple of times with them, they have backed off considerably. Maybe it’s because they know I do have a answer…or possibly because they found out Catholicism isn’t what they thought it was.

Don’t stress, it’s not worth it. Continue to follow Christ where he is leading you. :thumbsup:

God bless,
Lisa


#5

I say “I am not having this conversation with you.” If they say why not, then I say, “Because it’s my decision and I have made it.” But usually they are so shocked that I have not been drawn in by their snares, that they say nothing. You are not required to be in conversation with folks who have no intention of listening to and respecting what you say. Let your life be a witness to the fullness of the Truth.


#6

Also excellent advice!

Lisa


#7

Hand them a Catholic bible and a Catechism and say “If the Catholic Church really teaches that then find it for me in here”. Repeat as required. Put the burden on them.

You could also ask them “If you’re Baptist why are you so obsessed with Catholicism? Catholics certainly aren’t this obsessed with Baptists!”


#8

While you’re at the Bible Christian Society, also check out “Apologetics for the Scriptually Challenged”:

biblechristiansociety.com/download

The talk gets into apologetic techniques and covers how to approach friends and family.

Remember too that when someone makes an accusation against the Church, the burden of proof is on the one making the accusation. Have the accuser prove it to you. Make him show you an official Church document supporting his accusation–and insist that it be an official Church document, not some anti-Catholic drivel from someone with an ax to grind.


#9

from the Bible Christian Society. That should help immensely. I came from a Baptist background myself. :smiley:An excellent recommendation! And you can either order copies of his Bible studies on CDs to give them, or download them and pass them on that way.

One thing that (I hope) may work for you is to respond only to serious comments, not baiting where they seek to feed their ego. If they are in your home then of course you are well within your rights to simply tell them that you expect them to respect your faith and keep such comments to themselves in your home, but that you’ll happily address any serious inquiries that are offered with decent respect and Christian charity.

One of my personal favorites is to field the rude comments like a shortstop going for the double play. Take the comment on the hop and cut them off short with something like, “As if that were true…” or (laughing), “Where did you hear that garbage?” Then follow up with something like, “Well, when you’re ready for facts and not propaganda be sure to let me know.”

You might also get your wife or someone to make a sign or poster to hang in your house with Bishop Sheen’s great quote on it that says,
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]“Few people in America hate the Catholic religion,
but there are many who hate
what they mistakenly believe is the Catholic religion
—and if what they hate really were the Catholic religion,
Catholics would hate it too.”
Pax tecum,[/size][/FONT] :thumbsup:


#10

Besides some of the information already mentioned here are a couple of more. Mike Cumbie, a former baptist who converted to catholicism and now evangelizes to other christian faithshas some materials/DVDs that may help. His website is mikecumbie.org/
Another site is ninevehscrossing.com/AC-RG-Catholicism.html

A good book on the suject (hoping I remember the name of the book correctly) is “A Biblical Defense of Catholicism”

Hope this helps, many baptists are taught to be anit-catholic and it is hard to get them to stop seeing through the lens of predjudice and objectively look at the facts.

God Bless and good luck.


#11

Invite them to come to Mass with you, and to visit your RCIA classes from time to time. (I am sure your RCIA will welcome guests.) Introduce them to your priest and other leaders in your parish.

This will ground them in the reality that Catholics are human beings just like themselves. It will help them relate more to what’s going on with you - it won’t seem so strange any more.

I did that with my Plymouth Brethren friend, and she has really toned down the anti-Catholic stuff since the first time she came to Mass. She is not anywhere close to being interested in converting, but she has accepted that this is my Church, and that it’s actually not so bad - we read the Bible, and our pastor gives the same type of sermons as her Dad did, when he was alive - short, punchy, and memorable.

One time when she came to Mass, we had three priests concelebrating, and she was fascinated by that - she said it was interesting how none of them displayed any ego - they each played their part, and nobody was trying to take the spotlight away from any of the others, but they all made sure that each of them was included.

She said she wished it were possible for the Elders in her church to have that kind of cooperation. :slight_smile:


#12

Baptist Minister Becomes Priest

Give 'em copies of that. It’ll put the shoe on the other foot.


#13

I shared that with someone once. They said, “If a prominent Baptist converts I’d like to know about it.” So I promptly gave them that link. Apparently this fellow was too far out in the TULIP field to begin with to be taken seriously as a “Baptist.” :rolleyes:


#14

:rotfl: :shrug:


#15

Your wife is right.

You need to understand when a conversation can be fruitful and when it is doing harm. As you have described it, these conversations are doing harm.

You can and should set boundaries with your family. It does not imply you cannot defend your faith. That is in your head.


#16

Just please be sure to answer honest questions.

It is just possible that your relatives are having a “heart attack.” In their heart of hearts, they may be wishing that they, too, were Catholic. I’m very serious about this. When non-Catholic ecclesial community members see things like Pope John Paul II’s funeral, the fervent pro-life work, Catholic Charities at work, or even something like a crucifix or a priest wearing a collar, it tugs at their heart and soul and draws them in.

Remember, Baptists want very much to give their whole lives to Jesus and not hold anything back. They pray this prayer often, and many times in their life will go forward at an altar call to “rededicate their lives to Jesus.” * Maybe God is answering their sincere prayer*, and He sent YOU to help them.

Of course, no self-respecting Baptist will ever admit this “heart attack” and longing for the Catholic Church! It scares them because they hear on so many sides that Catholicism is a cult or a false religion. They will get very defensive and even angry if you ever suggested such a thing, so don’t bring it up. Let God work in their lives. You just be His instrument.


#17

The way it usually goes is “I found out that you all believe ____” then I respond with (usually)no, or when the answer is yes, their response is usually laughter followed by a smart comment. At first thats all it was, then they kind of backed off for a while. Now that they realize I’m serious about this "crazy"stuff :rolleyes: I think they think theyre supposed to show me the error of my ways and “save me”:smiley: Its soooo hard to have a serious conversation with them because everything they say is like an open-ended question and then they walk away…that pretty much sums up my day. The worst part about it is I have to work with my dad (who is a Baptist minister) so you can imagine what thats like!!


#18
  1. Order the CDs from the Bible Christian Society, or download the MP3s and make your own CDs, whichever you prefer. Listen to them yourself first!

  2. Present them (one at a time) to the protester in question (your dad mostly, right?) and say, “This guy makes a lot of sense to me, would you mind listening to this and tell me where you think he’s wrong?”

You’re putting the ball in his court, and making it not between you and your dad, but between the guy on the CD and your dad.

In particular, get One Church and The Rapture & the Bible.

May God be with you.


#19

When they behave like that about the only thing you can do is point out that if that’s their best efforts to “witness” to you then they are wasting their time.

One thing that I have discovered is that (unfortunately) a great many of the more aggressive n-Cs/a-Cs mistakenly seem to feel that taking cheap pot shots and making derisive or confrontational comments is some kind of valid attempt at faith sharing, and can’t seem to understand why Catholics (and other normal human beings) generally don’t respond well to it. I generally reserve the right to simply say, “Look, when you figure out to talk to me like a human being, then maybe I’ll hear you when you talk about this, but until then, I have no time for you, and I’ll thank you to keep your ignorant and insulting comments about my faith to yourself.”

(If you’re of Irish extraction you’ll probably find that both more satisfying and effective than some folks will.)

One thing that some folks fail to consider is that we Catholics do have a right to the same respect and courtesy (especially from family members) that others expect from us. I personally feel comfortable pointing out when people are not right about that, and then refuse to talk to them after that.

That’s gonna be hard to implement with your family, but frankly, they shouldn’t be hassling you like this to begin with.
I don’t think they’d like me at all. :irish1:


#20

Hi ukdal1,

I can certainly sympathize with you! I’m signing up for RCIA classes this month and am dreading having to break the news to some of my closest friends, who will think I’ve gone completely off my rocker! I have managed to have some pretty good conversations with my dad (an ex-Catholic) about Catholicism though. (It helps that he comes from a Catholic background in that he understands a lot of things people who never were Catholic wouldn’t. But then I also have gotten reactions from other family members, like, "You’re what?? But they worship saints!!) It is very trying on the patience when you have been studying and praying about something for a few years, and then you have to field tons of uninformed criticism. It takes so much prayer and dependence on Christ not to react defensively, but to be charitable.

I think to be charitable, we have to keep reminding ourselves of several things.

  1. I find it good to remember how long it took me to accept a lot of Catholic doctrines. Can I really expect someone else to come to a conclusion in five minutes that took me five years?
  2. It helps me to remember when I thought the same way as those who are critical of me now. (I myself am actually guilty of trying to talk one of my friends out of converting to Catholicism several years ago. Thanks be to God I failed:) However, that experience has served as a good way to humble me. I can’t count myself any better than those who might try to dissuade me now, and it helps me to identify with them.)
  3. A lot of the criticism you receive might be malicious or spiteful, but if there is any at all that comes out of genuine concern or love, then try to appreciate at least the motive behind it. Part of why I have found Catholicism so difficult to talk about with people who are close to me is that I know that it will cause them quite genuine pain and worry. We can’t sacrifice the truth just to make everyone around us happy, but we can sympathise with them.

I also find that it helps to be really honest. It’s okay to say things like, “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find the doctrine of mortal vs. venial sins pretty horrifying at first.” Then you can go on to explain why your convictions have changed. You can also try to indicate that you see things from their side. Sharing a common background, you have the advantage of understanding their thought-processes much better than they understand yours. So you might say something like, “I can appreciate that this might be troubling you.” Or “I used to feel exactly that way.” (Note with a sentence like the last one, it’s important not to come off in a “Back when I was unenlightened like you, I also believed many silly things.” If you appear to be arrogant, it doesn’t matter how convincing your arguments may be, you will usually hit a brick wall.

Finally, I think it is a mistake to assume full responsibility for having your family understand or appreciate Catholicism. Of course, you should set a good example with your actions, and try to be genuinely helpful with any honest concerns they have. But you can’t make their choices for them. To be honest, I have been quite surprised to find myself considering Catholicism so seriously. I certainly never intended to be where I am now. I really see it as a grace of God to me. I believe that prayer will be the most important thing for your relationship with your family. God is much better at changing hearts than the best arguments. (Not that arguments aren’t important, especially for those who are earnestly grappling with something! Also it is important to dispell outright misinformation.) It’s okay to set limits on what you will discuss, or to set a standard of respect for conversation about your faith. I also don’t think you should take all of the work of examining Catholicism upon yourself. I think it would be perfectly alright to say, “You know, if you’re really interested in learning about the Catholic view of communion, I have a really great book I can lend you.” If they are unwilling to take on a share of the work, then I think it would be okay to postpone discussing something with them until they had. I hope you might find some of these ideas useful. You have a tough row to hoe right now. I pray that God will grant you some fruits along the way to encourage you!

 "But in the meantime you must be content, I say, to be misunderstood for awhile.  We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be.  But there is one thing much more necessary."
 "What is it grandmother?"
 "To understand other people."

George MacDonald
The Princess and the Goblin


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.