Saturday, October 04, 2014

Prayers for Jason Stellman.

I was a sponsor to a Catholic conversion this year.

I noticed something that I had known but never appreciated before, namely that for many converts, becoming Catholic meant sundering their past relationships and rejection by their family and former community.  I wonder if in Protestant baptisms or joinings of the church, they talk - like the Catholic priest talked - about rejection by their family?

It brought to words the reading of the Mass only a few weeks before from Matthew 10 - which until then I had never really understood:

//32“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn

“ ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’c
37“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.//
Jason Stellman left his ministry at a Presbyterian church because he was convinced - and still is - that Catholicism is true, and he has lived the prophecy.

James White in his inimitable fashion uses Jason's suffering to gloat.

If I were James White, I think that I would be concerned about not seeing a similar scenario when people join his tiny church; it might suggest that his his church really was not the one that Jesus was talking about.


Anonymous said...

While not being religious myself, I couldn't imagine rejecting a family member for becoming a Catholic. My own experience is that many protestant churches (mostly the really conservative oriented) actually encourage new and current adherents to isolate themselves from family members and friends who are not of the same faith. This attitude on their part seems very much like protecting oneself from an infectious disease. I have seen this devastate swaths of my wife's family when someone left the Catholic Church for one of these sects. It really is the conservative protestant side of the spectrum that deals in isolation and condemnation.

My wife and daughter are both Catholic, and I have never felt anything but welcomed by the Catholic Church and members of its community. Not so for family members who have joined churches on the protestant right. While there is almost no chance I will become a Catholic myself and there is certainly no chance I am in a position to understand what church Jesus was talking about, I find your church to be one of the most admirable organizations of any kind I have encountered and one that promotes "family" extremely high on the list of life's priorities.

Peter Bradley said...

Thank you for your kind words.

I am very certain that there are many Protestant churches that have a more ecumenical attitude. I think I know a few of them, including a Baptist church, but we have to be honest and admit that there is a long and entrenched narrative that subsists in a lot of Protestantism that gets expressed at times like this.

Who links to me?