In my early 20’s, after a few years not attending mass and staying away from the church all together, I returned with a zeal and unquenchable thirst for the lord and all he has to teach me as well as fellowship with others.
It wasn’t enough to simply have mass on Sunday, so I looked for other churches that had services throughout the week, especially in the evenings since I’m a hopeless night owl. In my world then, as it still is now, I very much wish there was more, much more out there, any mainstream denomination included, and absolutely, this includes Mass as well.
Well, one of the goals I was trying to accompolish originally was to define, what it takes to become born again. I talked to the priest at my local church, I talked to ministers and pastors at the others, I talked to members in all of the congregations, and in each case, never was there a clear answer. This in a way left me lacking, for I was looking for some direction, a working game plan, and since none existed, I had to create my own.
I bought my first bible, it was necessary since I was attending bible study with one of the churches I was visiting. I decided to simply read it cover to cover, when I started, in the back of my mind I remembered being told by the Catholic church, that I had no business in doing so, that I could not properly interpret it and in fact, felt guilty, that I was defying some edict or something. That feeling soon melted away, and after finishing it, I had a completely different perspective of the word, one of amazement, the richness of it all, the combination of all of it, start to finish and how it all fit together, the greatest story ever to be told in the history of mankind, all right here in black and white.
During those early years, I attended parishes that were down right insulting, I attended parishes that were also very inspirational as well. So much of the time, the same messages being taught both within the Catholic and Protestant circut, it completely changed my perspective along exactly who these protestants are, what they believe, and how the same message is being taught in so many of them, why some of us as Catholics condemn them is beyond me. I look for what is good, what is similar, what we can agree upon and I ignore the rest, for that creates nothing but dissention. I’ve learned so much from my protestant friends, it just makes sense to continue here.
I still church hop, not to replace Mass, but to soak in the messages being taught, for I have discernment and know full well if there is a hidden agenda, or if the message being taught is not what the lord wants us to know about. That same first bible is in really bad shape now, pages falling out, the lettering “Holy Bible” on the front of it 1/2 worn off, and it’s clear to anybody, this is not an ornament just lying around the place, it’s getting good use.
Anyway, I figured I should create a thread on it, for I’m getting questioned on another about it, and opt to not let it go off topic there, so this is it. The bottom line, the end result of this, my faith has increased, my understanding of God and his children has expanded, and I am giving a lot of credit to the protestants to the point, I now consider myself Catholic and Protestant, unpolitically correct as it may be, that is my stance. I refuse to claim a denomination, always keeping my roots within the Catholic faith and keeping that strong, yet not forsaking my protestant bretheren and enjoying their company within fellowship.