- Ed The Protestant
Ten Things I Like About Catholicism
I'm Ed The Protestant. For now. Greg Smith (creator of Considering Catholicism) has invited me to not only consider the Catholic faith, but to record our (already ongoing) conversations for his podcast. You can follow my walk toward Catholicism on the podcast, and here on the blog.
I'm collecting quite a list of things I like about Catholicism.
1) God is big, and I am little
I love this feeling. Being a tiny, insignificant part of something so big--I find that reassuring. Yes, I knew this as a Protestant, but the trend in modern Protestant circles feels very much the opposite. So I find comfort in the Catholic approach. As a friend put it: "I feel small, but protected".
2) They're not trying to entertain me.
The Protestant world can be exhausting. I feel pressure to respond emotionally, and I often feel like I'm failing as a Christian if I don't. They're dancing for me and expecting me to clap. Most of the time I don't want that kind of forced engagement. I want to contemplate, pray, engage with God, reconnect with Him, and there's just too much...noise in most Protestant churches.
3) They treat me like a grownup.
By this I mean that they present the way forward to me, the path of discipleship, and then expect me to pick up the weight and walk with it. They don't let me off the hook. No participation trophies here.
4) They offer me something physical to which I can tie the spiritual.
Kneeling, crossing myself, holding rosary beads in my hands--these physical touchstones help me enormously, especially praying the Rosary with the beads in my hands.
5) Reverence seems to be built in to everything.
The more I think about this, the more I see that my initial interest in the Catholic church was the solemnity of the mass, the weight of it. Protestant services have, for a while now, felt flippant to me.
6) They don't follow trends or modern culture .
So refreshing, and so relaxing, frankly. I'm tired of chasing culture in general, and in the church I really don't want any more of it.
7) They expect something from me.
I guess this is a lot like #3 above, but I love it. I need structure. I need to be told: do this, don't do that, this is the way forward. The Protestant world doesn't offer me much there.
8) I always know, or can know, where I stand with God.
In the Protestant church they're always telling me I'm fine, but I always have the nagging feeling I'm not. The Catholic church offers me much, much more in the way of behavioral guidelines, and when I blow it, they offer me a way out of it, out from under the guilt ,through confession and reconciliation.
9) The richness of its history.
I always knew, or I always suspected that the history of the church should include the WHOLE history, not just whatever it was that started with Martin Luther. Now that I have accepted the actual, real., whole history of the church as valid, I'm finding a wealth of things to learn and consider.
10) The stability of its theology.
What does the Catholic church believe? It's right there in the Catechism, in black and white. Protestant beliefs may look the same on the outside, but on the inside it's an incredible mess. Every time someone disagrees with someone else, they start a new church. How many times have I heard, "Well, OUR pastor says THIS is what a particular verse means"? Too many, that's how many.