Love: Or Why I Do Not Try To Convert You
I am a Catholic of the sort who really loves being Catholic. You know, the sort who goes to Church six days a week and is sad on the seventh (which is today, but I guess it is good penance for a Friday?). I do not simply love practicing Catholicism, I really believe that the Catholic Church offers the opportunity to get the closest to God that one can while on earth.
So why don’t I focus on converting1 non-Christians? Because it is quite possible that any given non-Catholic is closer to God than most Catholics, including myself.
Sound odd? Think of this: I love my husband. I believe that being married to Joshua gives me the opportunity to know him and love him in ways that no one else can. Being married offers the opportunity to be the closest to Joshua that anyone can be.
But simply being married does not mean that I love my husband, or even know him well. With the passing of time others could become closer to Joshua while I focus my attention on everything else. I could even start to hate my husband and deliberately hurt him in ways unthinkable to his friends who really love him.
The point is not simply to be married, the point is to love. Marriage offers the best opportunity to foster the highest sort of love, but it is virtually meaningless in itself and could even become the source of the greatest of hatred.
The same is true of Catholicism and loving God. I would love for everyone to become a Catholic because I believe that would offer them the chance to know God most fully during this life (and the Real Presence really rules!). But simply being Catholic can be useless, or even harmful at times, and I am ultimately most interested in others loving God.
So, if you’re interested in seeking Truth, then we’re cool. I have no interest in converting you, simply in sharing the journey as we both seek Truth. And while I do believe that the Catholic Church is where it is at, I am quite aware that you may actually be closer to God than I am. I will do my best to learn from you rather than focus on converting you, so maybe at the end of the day I will have something to offer others.
What do you think about evangelization/proselytization? Be honest, are you interested in converting me/others in general (whether religiously, politically, or otherwise)? How do you feel about people who believe that they have truth, but aren’t in any hurry to spread it around?
1. One can only “convert” to Catholicism if one is not already a baptized Christian. If one is already a baptized Christian then one can merely “reconcile” with Rome since one cannot “convert” to a religion of which one is already a member! So a more accurate question would be “why do I not focus on converting non-Christians and reconciling non-Catholics?” But you don’t really care about that sort of accuracy, do you?
- Delicious Snacks & an Agreeable Husband
- 15 years later…
One of my close friends was Lutheran but fell away from the church and was interested in Catholism. I invited her to church and afterwards she had a lot of questions. I answered as best I could and we continued to have conversation. In the end, she decided to return to the Lutheran church. And to be honest, I am so happy for her because now she has a relationship with God again. Since her visit to the Catholic church she has been a faithful Lutheran and we can talk about our prayer life. As much as I would love for my friends to share in my Catholic faith, I would much rather than be faithful Christians. I see your point completely.
Good stuff here. I am certainly eager to share the gospel with those that are not Christians, but for those in various other branches of Christianity I am just eager for them to be serious about their faith!
Great post, and comments as well. I have a sister who is Catholic, and of my 3 sisters, the other two who are Protestant, my Catholic sister and I share the most common faith and the best rapport on matters of our Christian walk and faith. I love so many things about the Catholic faith, though I’m a Protestant, and I do consider much of it to be my own, since all of our Christian roots are in the Catholic church.
Wow. Never really thought about it. I guess in a way, I am evangelizing every day. I mean, I play at a mass four days a week, and I am blessed to be able to constantly talk about God, Jesus, and faith with children. It was kind of awkward when I wasn’t Catholic though – I had to answer the questions of second graders as to why I didn’t take Communion. It’s hard to explain religious differences when the kids only think of everyone as Catholic!
As to the rest of the world – I am blessed that most, if not all, of my friends are Christians. I feel very strongly that if they believe in God and that Jesus died for their sins, they will come out ok in eternity. I know there are those who disagree, but I want to see them in a faith they are comfortable with.
What do you think about evangelization/proselytization?
“Don’t beat people over the head with your Bible, love them into faith”.
Be honest, are you interested in converting me/others in general (whether religiously, politically, or otherwise)?
I am interested in people becoming Christians, I am not interested in their denominations.
How do you feel about people who believe that they have truth, but aren’t in any hurry to spread it around?
If you have the Truth that is Christianity and you don’t share, shame on you. Share by your life– by living in faith and walking the way of Christ. Open your heart, your resources, your gifts, your life to others that they may know Jesus.
I guess I do not try to convert others. I agree that I think it would be great if everyone wanted to be Catholic (because, as you say, being Catholic is where it’s at), but I respect each person’s right to find their own way to God. It’s amazing how many people discover the Church in just that way, by having the room to search, and really think about what they believe.
My husband’s family isn’t Catholic (he is a convert) and we do not try to convert them. We love them. If they have questions about Catholicism we are happy to answer. But we focus on the things we have in common as Christians, which, I think, is probably more important anyway.
I’m not gonna lie though; I do try to impress on all Christians the fact that they really do need to be pro-life.
Great post! I like your blog.
I love this post! I was just trying to figure out how I felt about this the other day. I do believe the Catholic Church is true; that’s why I’m Catholic. And the Real Presence is AWESOME. For the Eucharist, I would love for the whole world to be Catholic. Yet when I hear about someone that has left the Catholic Church and that their walk with God is stronger now than it ever was while they were in the Church, then I find myself simply glad that they are walking closer to God. I also really enjoy talking to others that disagree with me. Not to change their minds, but because I feel that I learn so much in the exchange.
I guess the way that I feel is that I would love to share with anyone what I believe and why, but in no way do I want to go out and tell everyone else where they’re “wrong” and I’m “right”. I really don’t see it that way. I would rather go out and meet people where they are and learn from them the truth that they have found. Because that is what adds depth and richness to the overall picture of my faith.
This is why my Catholic hubby didn’t push me to become Catholic when we got married (we also didn’t want to promise anything we weren’t committed to to God). He and his family aren’t out to convert, but rather just to be a good family and show God’s love through that. And lo and behold a little over a year later I have stack of Catholicism Books by my bed and find myself feeling more and more drawn to.
He told me a few months ago ” I knew if it was meant to be (me becoming Catholic) it would just happen and you’d dive right in to it, and I know you enough to know that you’d have to come to it on your own, I couldn’t make you. It had to mean something to you.”
Sometimes the best way to “convert” or just convince is by living a simple good example!
This is an interesting post! I was hoping to find some discussions on Catholicism. Here’s my story- I was raised in a fundamentalist Protestant (Lutheran) church, and now I don’t attend church at all. I guess I am non-theist- I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I’m not particularly militant or keen on proselytizing when it comes to what I think. I am interested in discussions, though!
I came across a few sources of information on the politics and scandals of the Catholic Church, and I’d like to learn more about it. I do think it’s unfortunate that a lot of the news about the Church revolves around those two things. I do have one question- why aren’t women more active in the church leadership? I think this would change the direction of the hierarchy quite a bit. Thanks for providing the link- this is an interesting blog!
Thanks for commenting! I too am interested in discussions, though I obviously come from a different perspective.
These are great questions, which I think require more than I can say in a comment. I will put up a post on scandal in the Church as well as one on why women are not more active in Church leadership. It may take me a few days since I will have to round up sources, but know that they are coming! And please comment again and question anything that you think is unreasonable.