Saturday, July 09, 2011

Conversion-story-palooza

Has anyone else noticed the Called to Communion posts that are part conversion story, part...some other subject? Yes, I saw the movie A Beautiful Mind, so I'm aware of finding patterns that may actually not be there. But, here's one and here's one. Then there's this one. Since these were recent CTC entries, these took about a minute to find. I have a feeling if I took another minute I could find a few more.  I guess it makes sense they wish to express being "called" to "communion."

I've decided on classifying them as the Roman Catholic "Eat, Pray, Love" motif: the poor misguided uninformed Protestant finally arrives at a deeper understanding, and then can point out the path to others (By the way, I did not see Eat, Pray, Love, but a close family member suffered through it and gave me the lowdown). Certainly this theme is much older than Eat, Pray, Love.

The story line for Eat, Pray, Love was as follows:

Liz Gilbert (Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali.

Now lets Romanize it:

Jill Protestant had everything a modern Protestant is supposed to dream of having - a church, salvation, a Christian worldview (and even a few bumper stickers to prove it)- yet like so many others,  Jill found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted from Christianity. Going from church to church and at a crossroads, Jill steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around Christianity that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by the Eucharist; the power of prayer to the saints , and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love of Mary.

Now the great thing is these stories don't need to be told just one time. Say you were the president of the Evangelical Theology Society. You could publish your version of Eat, Pray, Love and then you could republish it a few years later ("touching on several issues not touched on").

With the contemporary rise of Catholic apologetics, there has been a consistent trend to highlight the, “conversion story”. That is, Joe or Suzy was previously some sort of Protestant, but now they’ve “converted” to Roman Catholicism. Books, television broadcasts, radio programs, and internet web pages, all tell a similar glorious tale of journeying to Rome, and so should you. These are not conversion stories of the broken sinner bowing his knee to the merciful God, given by the Father to Christ and irresistibly drawn (like Paul’s recounting in Galatians 1; cf. Acts 9); rather, these are accounts of people accepting the alleged Roman Catholic “fullness of truth”, and a rejection of Protestant essentials like sola fide and sola scriptura. In other words, the emphasis is not on spiritual rebirth, but rather the acceptance and realization of a “higher knowledge”. The conversion is not to Christ, but to an infallible church.

See also: Roman Catholic Conversion Stories.  .

6 comments:

EA said...

"These are not conversion stories of the broken sinner bowing his knee to the merciful God, given by the Father to Christ and irresistibly drawn (like Paul’s recounting in Galatians 1; cf. Acts 9); rather, these are accounts of people accepting the alleged Roman Catholic “fullness of truth”, and a rejection of Protestant essentials like sola fide and sola scriptura."

It's interesting that a person's "perilous" private judgement is useful right up to the point where they decide in favor of Rome.

What these converts find out after "crossing the Tiber" is a clergy more liberal than the laity and an Infallible Teacher that is either unavailable or too shy to render a verdict on the issues of the day (i.e. evolution versus creation). These people usually end up resorting to lay apologists (Keating, et. al.) for teaching as the bishops have abandoned "instructing the faithful" in favor of administration. A continual lament on Catholic blogs is the poor state of catechetics at the parish level.

Ironically, nothing undercuts the argument for the necessity of the Magesterium like the plethora of Catholic laymen that publish books explaining Catholic teaching. Especially humorous is the admonishment by Catholic lay authors / speakers to the laity to rely solely upon the Magesterium for instruction.

Carrie said...

Well said, EA!

PeaceByJesus said...

Regarding reasons for leaving Catholicism, less than 30% of former Catholics agreed that the clergy sexual abuse scandal played a role in their departure.

71% of Protestants converts from Catholicism said that their spiritual needs were not being met in Catholicism, with 78% of Evangelical Protestants concurring, versus 43% of those now unaffiliated.

50% of all Protestants converts from Catholicism said they stooped believing in Catholicism's teachings overall. Only 23% (20% now evangelical) were unhappy about Catholicism's teachings on abortion/homosexuality (versus 46% of those now unaffiliated); 23% also expressed disagreement with teaching on divorce/remarriage; 16% (12% now evangelical) were dissatisfied with teachings on birth control, 70% said they found a religion the liked more in Protestantism.

55% of evangelical converts from Catholicism cited dissatisfaction with Catholic teachings about the Bible was a reason for leaving Catholicism, with 46% saying the Catholic Church did not view the Bible literally enough.

81% of all Protestant converts from Catholicism said they enjoyed the service and worship of Protestant faith as a reason for joining a Protestant denomination, with 62% of all Protestants and 74% Evangelicals also saying that they felt God's call to do so.

Pew forum, Faith in Flux (April 27, 2009) http://pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/fullreport.pdf

Constantine said...

Ditto what Carrie wrote.

Well done, EA!

Peace.

kaycee said...

I left Catholicism because someone witnessed to me the Saving Gospel of Faith in Christ out of the book of Romans, vs the Roman treadmill to attain heaven.

Funny thing, I remember as a Roman Catholic hearing Jesus being called the Savior and wondering what that really meant, considering I was the one running on the treadmill.

PeaceByJesus said...

I left Catholicism because someone witnessed to me the Saving Gospel of Faith in Christ out of the book of Romans, vs the Roman treadmill to attain heaven.

Thanks be to God that "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit", (Psalms 34:18)

and trust the risen Lord Jesus to save them by His sinless shed blood, not by proxy faith and confidence in one's own merits and that of a church.