Here to Stay: The Story of a Reluctant Baptist, Part Two
Here to Stay: The Story of a Reluctant Baptist
Part Two: Confirmed (not a) Baptist
(To Part One)
I hadn’t been exposed to a lot of Christian traditions when I was young. I knew a little bit about the Calvinists and a little less about the Catholics. I knew the Methodists existed as a child, but I didn’t really know anything about them. I was familiar while the stereotypes of each tradition by the time I got to college, but it wasn’t in-depth knowledge. I aimed to change that during my second semester of my first year of college.
I began with the Roman Catholic Church. I can’t really tell you why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Rome is certainly on the other end of the spectrum from Nashville, but I was curious. I knew many Catholics by this point and began asking around. I slowly began to understand what it was they meant by saints and what the whole business with Mary was about. I gradually began to understand the tradition more and more, though this process wouldn’t end until after I returned from my trip to Rome this January (but, in reality, it still hasn’t really ended). I immediately began to develop an affinity for the depth in the Mass and the complexity of their tradition. There were little things I didn’t understand or didn’t like, but — for the most part — it seemed pretty appealing to the kid fed up with Baptist polity at the time. I read Scott Hahn’s book about moving from a Reformed background to Roman Catholicism (Rome, Sweet Home), and he even came to campus that semester and gave a phenomenal speech. There were a few issues of contention that I couldn’t move past; however; chiefly among them the issue of priestly celibacy. As someone called to and training for the ministry, whatever tradition I ended up in would be where I would minister. If I became a Catholic, I wouldn’t be able to ever be married. That wasn’t a commitment I was willing — or thought I needed — to make.
The natural next stop after Rome was Canterbury. The Anglicans and the Episcopalians appealed to me for many of the same reasons that the Catholic Church did. I went to our library and checked out all of the books on the basics of the Episcopal Church. I watched and read the news about their controversies and prominent figures. I ordered documents from the Episcopal Bookstore. Some were official releases to explain certain decisions (like “To Set our Hope on Christ”) and others were devotional books for Lent. A few weeks after Ash Wednesday, I began attending a local Episcopal Church.
I loved my time with the Episcopalians and thought I had found a home. I went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church throughout the Lenten Season and into Holy Week — which was remarkable. I had never experienced the richness that is the Holy Week traditions. On Palm Sunday, I took part in the procession (I still have my palm branch cross somewhere tucked away). I woke up early on Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to go to service before returning to campus for class. I went to the Maundy Thursday service and again to the Good Friday service where the stripping of the altar left me gripped with a new understanding of the day. I reluctantly returned to my Baptist Church back home for Easter, but returned to the Episcopal Church as soon as possible.
I was not to stay in the Episcopal Church, however. Throughout the semester, I went to concerts, Wednesday and Sunday services at various times, and spent time enjoying every part of the liturgy and architecture. I discussed the issue with my parents and with many friends and was dead set on staying there. When I returned home after my freshman year, I was personally planning on asking to begin the Confirmation process when I returned for the semester in the fall of 2010.
End Part Two
(To Part Three)
Posted on 9 February 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged Anglican, Baptist, Baptist Identity, Canterbury, Catholic, Church, Denomination, Episcopal Church, Episcopalian, Identity, Place, Roman Catholic Church, Rome, Search, St. Peter's. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.