My Time Among the Evangelicals.

During my ventures blogging, I have come across a blog or two created by Evangelicals looking to inform others about the horrors of Catholicism. In fact, one in particular often tags his post as “Catholic” for those to stumble upon the dribble searching out Catholic posts. What is most absurd and peculiar about this particular gentleman is mind-numbing contradictions. For example, the gentleman will either misrepresent scripture to fit his motif of slander and if someone objects and provides refutation against his novice theology he simply censors their comments from the site, all while attempting to make known about Catholics Index of Forbidden Books. Ha!

Of course, as a cradle Catholic it would be assumed that I haven’t had much experience with Evangelicals, but in my particular case, I have spent some time in their company. It was during my time as a youth of about sixteen years of age. I was dating a Evangelical girl during those days–who sadly has fallen for secular world hook line and sinker since those days. The girl’s parents were very strict and any night that was considered a school night–which would include Sunday—we were not allowed to spend any time together. Of course, She determined a way to get around this because Sunday night is when her Church had youth group for her Church. She convinced me to go for at that time I thought, “Well, we believe in the same God, what could it hurt?” Oh how a fool I was at the time!

Every Sunday I would show up at the youth minister’s house, it was during a period of construction for their new gigantic Morton shed church, and it was nice to be able to talk about the Gospel in what appeared to be generally innocent conversations. However, after some time had passed and I developed a friendly relationship with the youth minister; here came his need to “convert” me from the evils of Catholicism. I didn’t notice it at first, it has been subtle, but he did have disdain for Catholicism, even so much so, that a girl—who was friends with a Catholic that I knew from school—asked him if disliked Catholics. The minister went on and on during a session at his house, unfortunately I don’t remember the particulars, how he didn’t dislike Catholics, it was a misunderstanding. All the while mostly looking at me when he spoke on the topic.

It wasn’t long after that time that a kid at my school committed suicide. Our community was a small community, so it had been a pretty shocking tragedy. Again, I found myself at the youth minister’s house as he discussed the event. The minister addressed the topic whether the teenager committing suicide was now in Hell. Although even upon looking back to realize that is analogy was a false equivalent, it also appears that the youth minister had a lack of understanding between mortal and venial sins. Nonetheless, he began to describe how if he was in the act of committing adultery and suddenly died, he would not be in Hell because there are no such sins that disconnect us from God. He spoke these words as he made eye contract with me, I said nothing being but a child.

One of the most shocking occurrence during my time amongst the Evangelicals was when I found myself again at the youth minister’s house, but this time, it was different. He told us that we needed to take a look at something at the almost complete Morton shed Church. When we arrived at the facility, we entered the building in complete darkness. The minister led us up to a top floor around a spiraling ramp of sorts. When the group arrived to the top of floor what set before us still disturbs me to this day. The room was filled with burning candles, maybe even some torches, I remember that it was dark and the only light was that of a warm glow of flame. I figure in a white hooded robe sat in front of us at a Judge’s bench with his face veiled. We were told to sit and await our turn. The youth minister then called each person’s name to sit on what more or less would have been the witness stand, and a figure who was portraying Satan read to us all of the sins that the youth minister thought or had heard each person committed. Personally, when it was my turn, my sins listed were not intimate but generic due to the youth minister not knowing me that well coming from the Catholic faith. However, some were so detailed that it left children in tears as this man dressed them down in front of all of our eyes. At the end of the mock trial, a figure who portrayed Jesus came in and said none of these sins matter, feel better. When the mock trial ended the Youth Minister told us how sorry he was for putting us through this ordeal, and gave us free pizza…

A couple years went by and at this time I must have been a senior in highschool because I do not remember the girlfriend being at these events. At the time the Morton shed church was complete and the Church started to have bonfires after football games. The community, again so small, of course all the kids went for the smores, pizza, and to hang out with their friends. Of course, this enticed us to come to other events at the church like lock-ins, but there’s always a catch. At this time the Youth Minister was finally going to make his play at me. He told me, “You need to be baptized.”

I replied, “I have already been baptized.”

The response he gave me was puzzling to me at the time, “Being baptized as an infant doesn’t count, you have to be submerged for it to count.”

Thankfully, during this period of time, my family had finally gotten a computer with the internet, so I began to research what this guy was telling me. I was finally older and more confident, so much to his surprise, I defended my faith when for so long I had been sitting quietly just there to spend time with the girlfriend. My research at the time led me to illustrate how the early Church Father’s practiced infant baptism, and that Christ in the Gospel of Matthew declared his followers to baptize in the name of the trinity: “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”[1] Unfortunately, we kept going around in a circular debate on the topic.

In many ways, the Grace of God and the challenges of this minister led me to a deeper belief in other facets of my faith, for example, transubstantiation. As we continued to discuss theology I questioned his church’s position on the discourse of the Bread of Life found in the Gospel of John chapter Six. I explained that if he fundamentally believed that the Bible to be the infallible word of God, why didn’t he follow Christ’s commands:

54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.[2]

After successfully refuting his challenges to my own faith, it was most unfortunate but the Youth Minister ostracized me and withdrew his friendship. Eventually, I no longer attended these after school events at this Church. Some time after, I came home from college and stopped to help at an ecumenical summer Bible School within the community—my friend’s mom was the director—and my ole’ priest was giving a talk, but I noticed something. I asked my friend’s mom where some of the community’s kids were and she said very sad, “Oh, that particular church didn’t want to send their kids where there were Catholics.”

Remember when the Youth Minister insisted on not disliking Catholics? It appears the Church only liked ones they felt they could convert. I do value the time spent with Youth Minister, he made me a better Catholic.

[1] Mt. 28:19 RSV

[2] Jn. 6:54-56 DRA