I Must Protest

Had a great time on Saturday attending the wedding of our neighbors Dustin and Teresa. It took place at the beautiful St Monica's church in Clifton Heights. The church, it should be noted, was absolutely gorgeous. It was the first Catholic wedding that Kelly and I have attended. And although I've been to mass before, it was Kelly's first Catholic service altogether. When you're a Protestant in a Catholic service, you feel out of place. There are a lot of aspects to Catholic worship that are learned over years of attendance [and confirmation class]. And even though I have my Cincinnati westside credentials, which makes me at least partially Catholic, I couldn't keep up; I was always late standing up, sitting down or kneeling. I have quite a few theological objections to Catholicism, and can be embarrassed by its legacy, but I refuse to dismiss all the good the Catholic church has done and is doing in this world. In short, I'm not switching sides but I won't Catholic bash either.

From my recent experiences, I could see why many Protestants choose to convert to Catholicism; there's a certain comfort in the liturgy that is absent in many Protestant churches. And there's a certain reverence of God, perhaps a mystic quality, that is somewhat attractive. Confirming this is many people I observe in my master's program at Xavier who are Catholic converts.

Likewise, I can understand why Catholics flee for evangelical churches. When you have no other frame of reference but that of a distant God who requires pageantry and exact language, you might navigate towards more simplistic form of worship.

It is a good reminder to me as a Protestant minister, living in a Catholic city, attending a Catholic graduate school, of balancing the kind of worship we encourage in our church. Remembering God as dwelling afar, as well as in our midst.