Before I get started on the rest of my story, I need to pipe in on the Brexit. Why? Well, a) because I can, and b) because I teach early American history and this historic event gave me hope. I hear all the talk about economic collapse, how the people really didn't know what they were doing (only progressives make this argument... just sayin'), and how bad its going to be. However, I have a different take. This is the British declaring their independence. When the United States did it back in 1776, the world thought we were crazy. The British back then made it quite difficult for us to do business literally stealing our sailors right off our ships! Although we were not perfect, we were doing what was right. We evoked natural law; that these rights were God given.
I know, I know, somebody out there is crying what about slavery? What about slavery? I like to ask my students this questions: Did our founders fail us?
I’ll let everyone answer that for themselves. But I will say that it is a mistake to put our 21st Century thinking on anyone or anything that has happened in the past. How many people would give up their homes and jobs today if it meant the end of racism? Before we judge, let us remember what they would be giving up to take a stand with action that would cause financial hardship for their entire family. Not to mention the slaves that would have quite the struggle to feed their family as well.
Another question: Would the United States had survived long enough to abolish slavery, pass the 14th Amendment, extend the vote to women, and give birth to a man like Martin Luther King that knew enough to know that American’s would do what was right? Liberty has not exactly caught on globally. How many of us would want to be a woman or homosexual in the Middle East? What's the pay for the average person in China? We should see hope in the about face they did in England. Their freedom to govern themselves had been taken away. Plain and simple.
I realize that Brexit might be bad economically, it might lead to some civil unrest, but in a country where their Supreme Courts and laws were being dictated by a far off country (sound familiar?) it does not surprise me that many stood up and said, Give me liberty! God never states that the right way is the easier way. In fact, quite the opposite as I learned the day I came home and told Tammy that I was discerning about becoming a Catholic.
First, a recent story. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated Father’s Day in Minnesota on a fishing trip with my brother and sister-in-law. The fishing was terrible; the time with family was special. When I came home from Boston in early June, my Rosary had completely fallen apart in transit. It was a bummer since my mom had given it to me… and mentioned, often, that it was expensive! Oops.
And so Father’s Day arrived. Tammy bought me a new Rosary (pictured below) and a book about praying the Rosary.
We have come a LONG way since that infamous day back in March of 2015.
I went into the conversation convinced she already knew what I was going to say. Big mistake. It hit her like a Mack truck, and it took months to recover. The pastor at our Lutheran Church called me in for a conversation. A friend, who is already not a fan of the church, informed me that Tammy was a German Lutheran, “They don’t change,” he assured me. The questions of why we pray to Mary came from multiple directions. Tammy told Father Marcin that she wanted to push me over when she saw me praying the Rosary. I would hide out in the extra bedroom to pray it after hearing that. In a strange way, I felt like Luther must have back in the early 1500s.
Any talk of Jesus filled the room with fear, doubt, and a feeling of separation. The devil was working hard to drive a wedge between us. Any conversation about the Bible or the sermon we just heard, or even if it was still the afternoon or evening created a tension in the air. Both of us waiting to see if the other was going to make a rhetorical mistake. And I certainly had my share of boneheaded comments. I prayed each morning just to keep my mouth shut in certain situations. Many of you that know me realize how I need God’s help on that one! Even when I worked hard not to fight, we would fight. I was starting to wonder why Jesus had me on this path. I thought perhaps it would be best just to keep going to the Lutheran church and give in.
But never once did the voice of God stop inviting me to the Catholic Church.
And then it happened. We sat in a council meeting (remember, I was still president of our Lutheran church) where the conversation put us on the same side. We jumped into the car after a very emotional meeting, and she said, “I’m going to Mass with you tonight!”
No, she didn’t decide to become Catholic, but the barrier between us began to crumble. That night we spent some time with the word of God and talked about the scripture we were reading. Neither one of us claimed to be a scholar; we just read and started discussing how each of us saw it. Both of us listened to the other. The wedge had become flexible. All looked good… until RCIA…
Which is where I will begin next time. Until then, God Bless!