Monday, May 26, 2008

Joseph Pearce is a genius...IMHO that is...

It's early on Monday morning, Memorial Day,2008. I'm watching an earlier episode of The Journey Home - Joseph Pearce is the guest. The man is so captivating to listen to, he really "knows his stuff." He is a former agnostic. He's one of the best biographers out there. He has said so many poignant things, I want to keep stopping the show, (we have DISH so I can do that) and write down almost every line he says! He quotes C.S. Lewis: "There are two types of people, those who do things to books and those who allow books to do things to them."

That made me think of what it is to be "anti-Catholic." People can read a book about the Catholic Church, or an article (or a blog) that might be quite well written and factual and true about the Church, YET, they still "don't get it" or see the Truth there, because they're reading it already through a biased lens, and their misconceptions about the Church. So either the Truth will call to them, and their eyes will be opened and they'll have the proverbial "Ah ha" moment, OR they'll read it with such a misguided belief, based on misinformation they've believed all their life, and just toss it aside, regardless of fact after fact. They'll cling to their preconceived notions because they're "foolish pride" (operative word being foolish) won't let them see the Truth. Their hardness of heart will remain, until they're ever humbled enough to let God speak to them about His Church. I know because that describes how I once was in my stubborness and my willful ignorance I held onto and had toward the CC.

"The fool says in his heart, there is no God." Psalm 14:1
I might add: "Another fool says in his heart, "God did not build the Catholic Church."

Both are foolish notions. Both are said by fools. I ought to know, I was one who thought for years. that the "church" is only "spiritual" not a physical, visible "institution" and certainly not the CC! But...Psst, the joke was on none other than me! Now, I grin with gratitude at my presumptiousness of so many years and say, "God, thank you for not letting me continue on that path!" I was one who thought Catholics or Lutherans, or Methodists, or the Baptists I knew might possibly not be and probably weren't really REAL "Christians" because they didn't talk about being "born again." I had come to know, through MY experience, that to become a Christian meant that it was a "decision" made in one fell swoop, announced at one point in time, Feb. 1, 1973 for me, that I "indeed gave my heart to Jesus and asked him to be my Lord and Savior." DOH! what a dummy! One articulated decision and I was a Christian who never had to ever worry about losing my salvation???? Oops. Some major WRONG theology there, kiddo! Blame it on semantics and pride...that goes before a fall and a fall it took! A fall off my "high-horse!"

If I may continue to DIGRESS:
I had the gift of faith to believe there is a God for most all of my life, only briefly doubting in high school, but never going down the agnostic rabbit trail of being a "smug doubter." However, it took a long time for me to lay down my foolish pride and admit and submit to the TRUTH and the FACTS of true history, staring me in the face, that God did indeed build and institute the Roman Catholic Church. HUH? GASP! "What?" "No way!" "He did not!" "We're free to roam about in any faith community we please, or to start our own churches, if we don't like what's being taught, or preached anymore where we are and where we've been for a month, a year or for decades. If the music no longer suits us, that's also a reason to "fly the proverbial coop" because we're free to go where we can "sing and dance" to our heart's content and to music "we like." Notice the operative force here? "We" or "I?" It seems to be all about me and for most of my life, it has been. If we have a bible (preferably an Ampflied one) and if we simply believe, we can understand everything we need to understand, all that the Holy Spirit teaches us." It's the Bible alone that guided me. Or was it? How can I be so completely sure, when it was also the bible that guided people like Jim Jones and David Koresh...? The bible is the Sole authority? Where does it say so in, say....the bible? (just askin')

Ouch. I had to swallow a large gulp of pride, for all of that is what I thought it was to be a Christian. Merely a belief, mental ascent and some 'good feelings' and an assurance that I was "Saved." Combine all that w/ a bible and it was "me and Jesus all the way, baby!" It didn't matter what I believed or the doctrines or dogmas of the CC or anyother "Mainline denomination" because, most of them were "tainted" in some way, being old and based on traditions of men. Little did I realize that I was following traditions of men in the evangelical world. Nope. We had it "more right" than most any other faith community, and especially more than those "mainliners" out there. They didn't even know what it meant to be "born again"....they, in some cases therefore couldn't be real Christian communities, (they didn't believe like I DID or speak like me. Just a tad bit of arrogance on my part that I was completely blind to, eventhough I felt pretty good and humble about being a 'real' Christian.) BUT I have digressed extremely here so back to Joseph Pearce.

Joseph also said, "Truth never has anything to fear from the facts." So very...TRUE! But lies and faulty theologies sure do! Lies that people believe and thrive on, and faulty theologies i.e. man-made tradtions we all cling to, have much to fear and bristle at the facts. People get angry and defensive when shown the facts, and if they're stubborn, like most of us are, it takes a long time, sometimes years to finally become docile enough (by God's grace) to the Holy Spirit, for there to finally be a crack in our hard shells to where the light can penetrate our darkened consciences or perceptions that have formed our faulty theologies or worldviews. If our consciences are poorly formed and molded, how will we come to 'truthful conclusions' about religion or God, or the Catholic Church? Many prayers were said for me, I believe, and are still being prayed before the throne of God, for me to now remain faithful to what I've been given. I don't know how it is that I became open and docile to the Holy Sprit and the Truth about Catholicism. It's a mystery. I am only forever grateful for the wondrous gift of faith to believe and a softened heart to receive.

People have read INTO books (or blogs) about Catholicism only what they 'want it to read' based on their own prejudices and likes or dislikes. As Joseph says there really aren't any "anti-Catholics" which gave me pause, so I listened more intently... and he proceeds: "When I was "anti-Catholic" he says, "I didn't hate the Catholic Church, but really only hated what I thought the Catholic Church to be." Which is the quote of Archbishop, Fulton Sheen.

I was in an internet exchange with a commenter a couple of months ago. He was persistent as could be. He is an ex-Catholic and had come across my blog. He had a whole litany of verses to
"throw at me" with the hope that I would read them, and "see the light" and the error of my ways, and see the Catholic Church for what is "is" (to him).... an idolotrous, deceptive, horribly corrupt religious system that has lured many into idol worship and is no doubt the "whore of Babylon." Although I don't know if he acutally called the CC that. This huge list of verses, all taken OUT OF CONTEXT to proove his own messed up and faulty theology and his hatred for the Church. Funny how my having been a "born again Christian" and my evangelical beliefs I held for nearly 30 years made NO DIFFERENCE to this man.

Nope, not one bit of difference did ANYTHING I say make to this man, so set in his bigotry toward any and all things Catholic. There was nothing I could say, no fact I could give that he would even consider. So, I ask you, what was the point in continuing this on line "debate?" It wasn't even a debate, because he was so entrenched in hatred for the CC that he couldn't or more correctly, 'wouldn't' debate at all! That's when I realized that it isn't me who will change this hardened heart, but only the Holy Spirit. It's NEVER us. We can't convert one soul. There comes a time we have to "leave the town and shake the dust off our feet" and in love....."let them go." I pray he'll one day go to the websites I gave him, get the free MP3's or c.d.'s and LISTEN when perhaps his theology begins to crumble as mine did 3 plus years ago.

This is all leading to my recommendation for any of you to go to search the archives -The Journey Home, with Joseph Pearce. I'd do it for you here and now, but I'm too lazy. But hey, I have the EWTN link there for you and that's a start. :) You'll be riveted to your tube for one hour, but it will be so worth it!

Now to get up and go to Mass. We aren't going to make it to 6:30, so guess it's 7:00 at Boy's Town. Have a great holiday today with family and friends. And remember to

THANK A VETERAN if you see one or know one.
They're our heroes.


Timothy said...

Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch and came to read.

I too love Marcus Grodi's show. I have a copy of Juice and listen to the podcast every Wednesday morning. Some very inspiring stories. Just what I need for "hump day".

God bless...


Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Timothy. I'm glad you stopped by and left a comment. Thank you. Now I'll take a jaunt across the blogosphere and visit your blog. I just peeked at it, and like it already! : )
Blessings. ~ susie