Why I enjoy church hopping

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.

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I commend you for seeing how we are the same, but do you ignore how we are different?

When it reaches a point where they insist upon something that is not being taught in the Catholic church, or is contrary, I can default back to my roots here, and they have to respect my stance in that regards and give me breathing room, for they know full well, they are not to override me in that area.

Interesting.

So, for example, you ignore the once saved/always saved stuff that some have. Likewise, you overlook those who say that the Eucharist is symbolic only.

What if it is a more subtle difference, like Luther’s Real Presence and Catholic? Or the EO position on the Filioque vs ours?

Absolutely

So far, there has never been a single instance of dialog with them covering those topics, I guess I’ve been lucky there, then again, I make it clear up front, keep our focus along what we agree with. If I reach the point where it becomes a situation of clear opposition, we agree to disagree and move forward, knowing full well, neither is going to convince the other.

How deep can you dive without hitting some of these issues?

In the end, you must realize that only one church has THE truth. If you trivialize the Catholic Church as being as good as the protestant chrches, then you have ignored THE truth. When you determine that something is good because you agree with it, it doesnt mean that it is the truth, only that you like it. Jesus didnt promise that we would like everything. He did promise that the gates of hell would not prevail. Ask your protestant preacher where he get his authority. If he says the Bible, then ask him where his name is in the Bible. Ask a priest where he gets his authority, and he will tell you from the Church. Thats who the authority was given to.

If your protestant preacher says that everything you need for salvation comes from the Bible, ask him where it says that.

I want authentic teaching and THE truth. Only the Catholic Church has that. All other “traditions” dont. Ask yourself if Jesus wanted a whole bunch of churches, or if He prayed to the Father that we might all be one. If you cant see that, then you are still lost.

Part of what I’ve been able to accompolish here is to disspell misconceptions along both sides. I’ll give you a typical service, just so you realize, it’s not the harsh anti catholic movement too many Catholics think are.

Service will typically begin with a song, then the pastor will make some announcements, and move onto reading the gospel, this is to deliver not only the message, it’s generally going to be what the service is going to focus upon for that event. From there, a song or two, then further elaboration upon what has been covered within the gospel, and a collection. During that second discussion, there usually is at least one prayer, sometimes it’s simply to help support others that are going through tough times, other times it’s to pray for the members in general. This is followed up with more songs, sometimes a ceremony of sorts, and then in the end, final announcements of sorts and it’s over. Some of them, such as a baptist church I attended would break up into smaller bible study groups, or they would have a pot luck or something. So far I have not seen a preacher on the pulpit stating into what they believe as opposed to Catholics and if we do not conform, we are in error.

I enjoy the meat and potatoes services, not at all into the feel good, watered down ones, yet even with the latter, there are still at least some morsels which are offered.

Where in it have I stated as good, anywhere at all? I so love these forums, you say one thing, someone else decides to twist your words around to make it seem like I’m saying something entirely else.

If I were to bring a protestant friend to mass, and the message they are told is that there church is totally invalid, you might as well tell them they are going to hell and a great big thank you for perpetuating the misunderstandings between the Catholic faith and the rest… You get my point here.

I leave these services, knowing full well, there is much I’d very much enjoy sharing with them within the Catholic faith, elements we get to partake from that they are missing out on, yet I show restraint. It’s my position to simply be there as a unifying force, not a condemning one. This in turn gives these guys not only respect for the Catholic church and breaking down the barriers between us, it very much helps to eliminate sermons that clearly are anti catholic, for they know they have a Catholic witnessing it all in person.

Hi prodigalson

Thanks for starting this thread! I certainly relate to what you are doing (I wouldn’t call it church hopping) but getting your spiritual nurturing from more than one place.

Also think that it can be impossible for one church to meet everyone needs and to meet one person’s need. And some of this comes from what people need to grow spirituality and this can greatly differ.

For example I need to be feed spiritually both emotionally and intellectually. And that led me at one stage to attend two churches (different Protestant denominations) because at the main one the Minister only gave a five minute homily whereas at the other the Minister preached much more deeply. Also the first minister considered it “uppity” to comment on his sermon whereas the other enjoyed a debate or discussion.

[quote=prodigalson12]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.
[/quote]

Also identify with this. Think what this does is to also help us learn “why” people believe what they believe. Often when we know why we find that while we express things differently we actually come from the same starting place or have the same end in mind.

[quote=prodigalson12]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 … 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.
[/quote]

Agree with this too. Often in religious debate the discussion is focussed on differences and one side trying to get the other to change. not a learning situation for anyone.

[quote=prodigalson12]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…
[/quote]

Suspect there will always be people who either cannot understand what you are doing or why. I found that people were worried that I would lose my faith but what they could not understand was that I needed to sort things out for myself and that was more likely that that would happen if I was told to stay within one and not to think for myself.

Some people would cite me as a bad example as ultimately I did leave the church because of some basic theological differences I could not reconcile. But this had nothing to do with attending more than one denomination.

[quote=prodigalson12]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.
[/quote]

This comment brings to mind one of my favourite sayings “We ask all alike to think, but not to think alike”.

One question: When you go to the other churches, and they have communion, do you partake?

Vin, no I do not.

prodigalson12,
Thanks for your non-response to me for some simple questions (such as "What is your topic?) I asked of you on your other thread. I think you intentionally opened up a can of worms on your other thread and then you run and start this one to spread certain confusion.

I give much credit to Catholic converts from Protestantism for aiding me in understanding my reversion and continual conversion. I believe some of those might say that you considering yourself ‘Catholic and Protestant’ is oxymoronic and not ‘unpolitically correct’.

Peace, Graubo

prodigalson12,
You might want to check out the free Catechism of the Catholic Church online or invest in one because I think you might find what the Church teaches about being ‘born again’ falls within the sacramental theology of baptism.
I have bolded in your quote what I believe speaks volumes about your own theology.

Peace, Graubo

prodigalson12,
For the non-Catholics that may read this thread and to clear up this misconception, please provide an official Church source for your quote that I bolded. The ‘back of your mind’ does not suffice and it makes me wonder why someone might tell you this.

Peace, Graubo

My understanding on the Filoque issue is that JPII stated that both the Catholic and Orthodox were expressing the same truth in different ways.

That is OUR view on it. The Orthodox do not agree 100% on it.

I clearly am no smarter than you or anyone else, and likely much less. But help me with this statement as it sounds ever so “smarter”, Protestant, than I might have expected?

It might seem to some people, you are having difficulty not only finding other single folks (from your other thread), but expressing what you believe.

May the Lord bless you and all those you love!

Oh yeah- well that’s their problem. For some reason the Eastern Churches can be so “gripey.” at times. They need to loosen up. Maybe it’s the beards. . . Hmmm. . .

The Russian Orthodox Church is the most disgruntled one.

It seems the the Orthodox are characterized by division and schism. I have heard that they prefer smaller homogenous churches.

Prodigalson,

Have you gone to an Eastern Catholic Church? That should be quite enlightening. I would like to attend one but have never been. :frowning:

By attending an Eastern Church you could get some variety in spiritual expression and stay consistently in the Church. I understand that eastern spirituality is quite beautiful and carries many qualities specific to those rites.

The ethnic populations are also likely to be very welcoming and happy to have you visit.

You know- the whole “breathing with both lungs” thing.

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