It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5 style.
I'd like to start off by saying that I am a Christian. Yes, contrary to popular belief here in the Bible Belt, Catholics are Christians. Yep, all of us.
If I hear, "Well, SOME Catholics are Christians..." again (seriously, that is so offensive), I'm going to hog-tie the offender with some rosary beads. We believe in the Holy Trinity, that Jesus is the messiah prophesied in the Bible, that He died for the forgiveness of sins, and that He will come again. We believe the basic tenets of Christianity. That faith makes us Christians.
I wasn't raised Catholic. I spent most of my early years in uncomplicated non-denominational Christian bliss. I joined the Catholic Church 15 years ago for family unity with my cradle-Catholic husband. Making the Protestant-to-Catholic switch isn't so difficult when you come from a non-denom background. I don't believe that Jesus cares about denomination.
I have no interest in sitting in judgment of my fellow Christians--deeming this person fit for Heaven and that one fit for that other place. But it seems to be a popular pastime among Christians today. It's like that joke that has cycled through each religious group.
A man dies and enters Heaven. On his tour, he is taken by several rooms. As he and his angelic guide pass the first room, loud laughter erupts and delicious smells waft from the door. The man asks the angel, "Who's that in there?" The angel replies, "Oh, those are the Methodists. They love their fellowship!" They move onto the next room, where the man again hears laughter and also detects the distinct smell of alcohol. He remarks, "Beer? In Heaven???" The angel replies, "Those are the Catholics. They like to party." At the door to the next room, the angel whispers, "Be very quiet. These are the Baptists (or Presbyterians, or Lutherans, or Pentecostals, etc). They think they're the only ones here."
If someone tells me she is a Christian, I am inclined to believe her. That's between her and God. Is it too much to ask to expect the same in return?
Nature Boy has been experiencing some of this Christian bigotry himself. In our area, belief in a young earth is seen as the only way a true Christian CAN believe. If you believe in old earth creationism (as in the day-age theory), your faith is suspect. (I think it's okay to say, "I don't really know." It's possible to have faith without having all the answers.) The word "evolution" is a cuss word here. It no longer means, "a gradual change over time." Forget discussions about adaptation or changes within species. If you say "evolution", people assume you're talking about the origin of man. It's just better all around not to utter the word lest you be proclaimed a heretic.
Today a boy in our Christian homeschool group told my son that Pokemon cards are of the devil, as God doesn't create monsters. When Nature Boy said, "Do you really think Pikachu is evil?!", the boy said, "Don't even say their names! They're demonic!" He then stated that Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have a demon attached to each card! Whah?! This boy, long a friend of Nature Boy's, told my son that his mom doesn't think Nature Boy is good for him, and that in fact, she really doesn't like him very much at all.
All that Pokemon playing makes him a bad influence, apparently.
So where is this plank you're supposed to be pullin', you ask?
I'm just so angry. I'm tired of having my Christianity questioned, and I'm beyond tired of the religious prejudice that my son has to deal with at our homeschool group of all places. Do we not even fit in there?! (Catholics may like to party, but it sure doesn't start in childhood. The Catholic homeschool group in town is boring.)
But even if my anger is justified, I don't think God wants me to hold onto it. And I do. I keep that flame at a slow burn so that it's ready to flare up when needed. As a result, when someone invariably makes a comment that I find offensive, I respond defensively. And that doesn't help anything. I don't want to create a new Catholic stereotype: the angry, ranting Catholic Convert.
Because I don't drink, so I wouldn't be able to blame it on the booze.