Stripped Down Baptist Same as Catholic?

I’ve been struggling between two religious worlds of late. As you all know, I go to both the Catholic and the Baptist Churches in the town where I live. I was driving home from work in silence today because since our vacation, I’ve grown accustomed to to the quiet. While in Maine we did not listen to radio or watch TV news. I caught a snippet of Dancing With the Stars onchoir Tuesday night, but other than that, we had Mother Nature and good company to occupy us. Anyway, driving home in the silence I was pondering why I could not give up the Baptist Church to be Catholic or why I could not give up the Catholic Church and be totally Baptist. There are several reasons why I go to the Baptist Church. 1) I love to sing in the choir and Catholics, to be honest, don’t sing the same music or in quite the same way as Baptists do, at least not in our church they don’t. Choir practice on Wednesday night is usually a lot of fun and you get to sing Gospel music. 2) I love to read and study the Bible because it feeds my curiosity and academic “bent.” I can sit and “do” bible study for a couple of hours in the morning. 3) The people at the Baptist church are like my extended family. We have fun most of the time, even though there can be fights.

I go to the Catholic Church because 1) The mystery of the Eucharist draws me. 2) I prefer confession here. I feel wiped clean in Catholic confession whereas in the Baptist church, you don’t dare tell anyone else what you’ve done. You’ll never live it down (see post #2 on this blog). 3) I love the silence and the ritualistic liturgy of offering corporate worship to God. In the Baptist church I don’t get the impression that what we do is worship. I sense God in the Catholic church.

So, I pondered these things and wondered, could it be that God wanted me to give up those things I so dearly love as a Baptist to show me that I need to rely more on Him alone and not Bible Study, singing, fellowship, etc.? I’ve been reading some of the lives of the saints and they all say that God strips you of all things you are most devoted to in order to fill you more with His presence. Is that true? Will God withdraw the consolation I receive from these things in order to draw me to Himself?

prayerIt’s true that I get so caught up in Bible-ology that I forget God all together. It’s possible to put the Bible before God as some fundamentalists are known to do. You get swept up in translation controversies and find yourselves fighting over which one is TRUE when only one person was TRUTH: Jesus. It’s also true that I enjoy choir more than a lot of things and cannot see myself giving it up. But let’s suppose God wants me to give up all these things to know Him better or to have a deeper Christian life. Would I? Can I live without Bible Study or teaching Sunday school, since none of these things is offered in the Catholic Church. Can I give up choir in the Gospel tradition?

I’m not sure, but how can I know God is asking me to? I suppose it’s going to take a lot more silent drives home from work to figure it out.

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6 thoughts on “Stripped Down Baptist Same as Catholic?

  1. Maybe i have the answer? I am what one might call a Charismatic Catholic. We sing praise songs like the baptists and read the scripture in depth in Bible studies, and have alive preaching, yet also embrace the contemplative nature of the Catholic Eucharist. There are many many Charismatic Catholics worldwide – there is even an office for them in the VAtican. http://www.ccr.org.uk if the UK site, but has links on the link page to Catholic Charismatic Renewal throughout the world, inlcuding prayer groups and Mass embracing both the elements you talk about.

    Hope that helps. Every blessing,
    Maria
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  2. Maria,
    That would be perfect!! IF there were something like that where I live. In the midwest, this isn’t too common, especially in conservative rural areas. You have the Pentecostals and the Charismatics and then you have Catholics, and ne’er the twain shall meet. 🙂 Thank you for the blessing thoughts!

  3. Hi.I have enjoyed reading your comments Ann.Your story,is my story. I’ve sensed God calling me “out” of such heavy study.Pastor was not understanding in the least. I have been “zeroed in” on any online articles, blogs or studies (anything) that even remotely could relate to what I have been experiencing.I also have attended a Baptist Church for over 10 years. I love my people.I’ve been involved in the children’s ministries, organized and began a teen youth ministry, I wrote lesson materials and puppet shows,was a choir member, and opened up our 10 acres of property to the church for camp outs, picnics, Bible studies, pool parties, sledding…I miss it all. My heart breaks. But, like you Ann, I find the Bible painful. Not somewhat painful…but too intensely painful to go on like this.As a woman, I can’t find myself in scripture. The Bible seems to be written for men, by men. I can’t find me in there…. I always have to “move the men around” in the accounts and abstractly fit myself in… and it’s too exhausting anymore.Do I make any sense at all? My church recently joined the Southern Baptist Convention.After many late nights researching, and gathering up what I believe is information that should have made my church leadership…(which of course is all men…)run… they made excuses and I feel mislead the people with only half of the information. I love them and miss them sooo much.Especially the kids. I worry about my witness to them. It’s been a dark, dark time. I have been attending a small congregation out here in the country. It’s a Brethern Church. Much more simplistic than I’m accustomed to, but nice. I’m calmer. I do like you said you’ve been doing. I listen to the quiet.I look at the beautiful fall leaves and my aging mother’s eyes…and I feel the Lord.Remember when Jesus and the disciples were walking all day, the crowds were pressing in and they were weary? Jesus said,”Let us go and rest.” I think you are right, if we belong to the Lord, he has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us. Comfort and guide us.Teach us. How refreshing and “easy”. I love theology, I have a “questioning mind.” lol lol… I haven’t given up my studies either… (not as long as my eyeballs hold up…)But, I am relating to you, and I thank you for blessing me today with your story Ann.

    Love In Jesus,
    Karen

  4. Karen,
    What a beautiful testimony! I know exactly what you’re going through! And I mean that. Maybe God is calling us ‘away’ from the man-made and into the God-made. I too cannot seem to give up my overly curious bent or my inclination to read, read, read everything. For women, that’s a no-no. Men want to tell us what to believe and when. Well, I can’t accept that. I hope, in the future, we can continue to get some encouragement from each other. 🙂

  5. Regarding your switching between “baptist” and Catholic,

    You are much better off in the Catholic Church, because
    if you die outside the Roman Catholic Church your
    soul is going to be thrown in Hell forever.

    Please see my web site for details, regarding the Salvation
    Dogmas: http://Immaculata-one.com

    Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary founded only the
    Roman Catholic Church, He did not help start any of the Satan inspired protestant heresies, they’re all from Hell.

    Mike
    Our Lady of Conquest
    Pray for us

  6. Hey Mike, thanks for the post! I think perhaps you should lighten up. I’ve been to your website and fear for your sanity. Because of that hateful dogmatism, I’ll gladly take my chances outside the “Mothership!” Peace to your soul.

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