Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dual Church-going

I went to two services today. I attended Mass at 8:30 and then went to the Contemporary service at the Baptist church at 10:50. My cousin David was being recognized as a graduating senior and he wanted me to go.

It was interesting to see two different kinds of services. I wouldn't say completely night and day, but they were very different from each other. If I had to sum it up simply I would say that that the Catholic Church is more about reverance and the Baptist is more about praise. Not that one is better than the other. I feel that both are about worshipping Christ, just in different ways.

Yes, the Mass is more formulated with the prayers and recitations, but the Baptist church is quite formulaic itself. There was sitting and standing, a specific order in which songs were sung, messages preached, and money collected.

I have to say that I still feel much more at home and comfortable in the Catholic Church. Maybe I like the tradition and the solemnity of it. I've never been one to be outgoing and making a show of my faith. It's not that it's a bad thing to do it, but it's just not me. The Baptist service was full of contemporary songs that I couldn't sing because it was posted on a powerpoint, but did not have the music (notes) printed. I guess if you go for a while you know the tunes, but for me, I couldn't sing a lick of any of the songs without being able to read the music. The people were friendly enough, but I still didn't feel right at home there. I'm not chastizing the church, their beliefs or the service, but just feel it isn't right for me. I felt God was present there as He is in all churches. And I know there are truly godly people there. I'm finding though that the Catholic Church just doesn't make such a big show of it. Like I said, it's more about reverance.

Some people complain that there's a lot of sitting, standing, kneeling etc. in the Catholic church, but there's just as much in the Baptist church. At Mass the congregation stands in reverance to the reading of the Gospel of Christ and when the Eucharist becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Baptist service the congregation stood for the singing. I saw those that were raising their hands in praise and were really getting into the emotion of it. I can't say one is any better than the other. But I still feel that there's more truth in the Catholic Church. Though God truly exists in both, I feel that Baptist (and in general Protestant) doctrine is still flawed. It doesn't mean that Baptists are going to hell or that only Catholics can go to Heaven.

I know my friend Bret still has his concerns over my conversion. I tried address some of those in response to an email he sent. I'm sure he still disagrees, but that's o.k. I've also had a few people IM me commenting on my decision. One saying that the Catholic Church supported Hitler and how it's the whore of Babylon etc. But then I've had those that have told me congratulations for doing so and that was coming from people who weren't Catholic themselves. But it really doesn't matter what others think because it's still my decision and I'm doing it because I feel it's right.

I've been doing some studying on the Mass and today I think I've finally gotten the responses down and have learned the Nicene Creed. I'm understanding not only what to say, but why and what is going on. Sure, some Catholics do it by rote, but for me I'm trying to think about the importance of and meaning behind what we're saying. I can't wait to start RCIA classes in the fall.

I've told people that stuff like this would not have been coming out of my mouth a year ago. I've changed quite a bit. And it's a good change. I'm still working on it and still have a ways to go, but at least I'm making progress.

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