Every Easter is glorious inasmuch as it’s a reflection of that first Easter, when Death became irrelevant because Jesus beat it into the ground. But I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that I dunno about you, but yesterday was my personal best Easter ever. And the reasons for that are pretty simple: chocolate, bacon, and community.
The first two should be self-explanatory: I gave up chocolate for Lent and therefore enjoyed it at pretty much every meal; and I’m pretty sure that on the eighth day, God created bacon and said, “It is tasty.” But community? Yes, community. And not the type you’d expect either. I spent Easter with the Lutherans.
Okay, to be fair, I spent Easter dinner with the Lutherans. Holy Week and Easter morning masses were spent firmly in my own church, enjoying my own traditions. But the new local Lutheran pastor and his wife are around the same age as me, come from the West coast, and are basically clones of me and my husband. Needless to say, we’re quickly becoming friends. And so I found myself sitting at a kitchen table, fair trade coffee in hand (I told you they’re basically clones), talking theology with Becca, the pastor’s wife who is a theologian in her own right. We talked about General Revelation and how the doctrine of Purgatory came to be, what the Scriptural basis is for lots of Catholic traditions, how we all felt about the new Pope, why I became Catholic, why their particular brand of Lutheranism doesn’t accept the Joint Declaration on Justification, thoughts on St. Augustine, and more.
And you know what, it was wonderful. It was respectful. It was Christ-centered.
You see, you don’t have to be surrounded by nuns to have a conversation on faith, and you don’t have to yell and scream to prove that you’re dedicated to it. I had no interest in putting down my friends who, although still a brother and sister in Christ, think differently than me about some issues of faith. And they had no interest in putting me down. Sometimes, just to talk about faith with confidence and use the phrase “I don’t know” when you just don’t know is enough to plant seeds in one another’s minds–seeds of understanding, seeds of tolerance, seeds of Christian love.
Most of the students and young adults I’ve met are afraid to talk about being Catholic because they feel like they don’t have all the answers and they worry about getting into debates. First of all, nobody has all the answers. Not me, not any of our priests, not anybody. Second, that’s not what it’s about. Christ didn’t say, “Go and give a theologically, historically, and logically sound argument to all nations”…..He said “Go and make disciples of all nations.” You’ll notice that not once in the Bible do the disciples sit down and discuss the best way to read Leviticus or talk about which Late Second Temple Period model of messiah they thought Jesus was. Instead, they asked Jesus questions and talked about the Kingdom of God in the language of metaphor and acted as they saw Jesus acting. They didn’t have all the answers, even on the morning that the women came running back from the Garden yelling, “The tomb is empty!!!!!” But they were still known as Christ-followers by their actions–and also their words when the situation warranted it.
If you read “The Equinox”, Keene State’s student newspaper, last week, you saw my Letter to the Editor regarding a recent op-ed by a staff writer that was fraught with misconceptions about Catholics and our church’s beliefs. The letter didn’t attempt to correct these misconceptions; instead, I took it as an opportunity to invite the entire campus community to engage in a respectful and open dialogue on faith. I invite any of the Catholic Keene State students to be a part of this dialogue:
- If you’ve ever had a burning question about our faith, or an issue that you just can’t resolve and need to hash out, come and join me to talk about it!
- If you’d like to be a witness to your faith and take the opportunity to share why you love being Catholic, come join me!
- If you’re not sure what’s going on, but you just want to be there to see it, come join me!
For the next three weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1 pm, I’ll be in the Dining Commons at the V-shaped table where desserts are usually kept, wearing a skirt and a name tag. And I am genuinely looking forward to seeing each and every person that joins me, because faith is something I genuinely enjoy talking about, and something that I don’t think necessarily needs to end in an argument. Who knows, perhaps we’ll even share a chocolate dessert during lunch. Or bacon. That would make for a good time!
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