Monday, May 5, 2014

Use Words

I grew up in a religious home.  My dad was Catholic and my mom is Methodist.  So it was a Christian home.  My family was part of a larger family of mixed up Christians.  On one side my religious ancestors included Puritans who went almost back to the Mayflower, Quakers opposed to slavery, and a Jewish born great grandmother who was raised Catholic, then had and common law marriage and became a Baptist.  On that side I had all manner of Protestants.  On the other side I had great grandparents who were Evangelical Lutherans, Dutch Reformed and Polish Catholic. The Polish Catholic great grandma won that argument.  But, not all of her grandchildren stayed with the faith.

My parents had many discussions about attending church, how much money to give church, religious education, clothing for the sacraments, fasting and abstaining.  We all did attend our respective churches every Sunday and did those other things too.  But, by the time I was confirmed, I wondered what it was all about.  I believed in Jesus, but looking around me, I couldn't see that anyone's life was changed or driven by that belief.

Catholics didn't talk about their faith much in the 1950s and 60s.  I might hear talk about the Pope and the Vatican Council and the changes in the Mass, but I didn't hear anyone talk about Jesus.  My mom was not the kind of Protestant who talked about Jesus.  Most of my Protestant relations mainly pointed out that I would be going to hell because I was a Catholic, not about God's love or conversion.

In the late 60s I had a conversion experience when I begged God to give me a new way to pray.  That experience convinced me of God's love and made me dedicate my life to serving Him.  And yet, I looked around me and I didn't see anyone speaking about their faith experience.  I didn't see anyone as an example for my young self.

I remember hearing the quote at a young age to preach the gospel with your life, not your words.  I finally found other like minded Christians who love the Lord.  I found many Catholics who love the Lord.  But, I still meet some who think it is undesirable or unnecessary to use words to state your belief.  Looking back at my confused young self, I would say this--use words.  Talk about the Christ and how knowing Him has changed your life. Use words.

1 comment:

Neen said...

Wow, I never thought of it that way. My mom was a cradle catholic from Irish and German Catholics. My dad grew up Christian, converted to Catholic and then left the faith (along with my mom) years later. We never talked about the faith too much. My dad had converted on his own and my mom never wanted to push her faith. I wonder if it would have helped. Not sure if keeping him catholic mattered as much as keeping him from going nuts. I liked reading your thoughts, thank you. Something to think about!