Two Years a Catholic
The last two years have brought me almost nothing but loss. Most of my fellow alumni and former professors at Westminster Seminary no longer speak to me, I am denied entrance into the church I planted (where my family still attends on Sundays) — I wasn’t even allowed to attend the Christmas Eve service last year and just sit and sing the hymns. To most of my old Calvinistic friends I am simply a traitor to the gospel.
Each job I have gotten since resigning from the ministry has paid less than half of the one before it. I now have the earning potential on the open market to make one tenth of what I earned as a pastor (in fact, my latest job pays me less than half of what I was getting from unemployment, which benefits were due to dry up soon). There’s no other way to say it: I am officially poor.
As readers of Creed Code Cult will have noticed, I have taken measures to step out of the spotlight and extricate myself from any kind of role as an official spokesperson for Catholicism. Part of the reason for this is that I simply don’t have the stomach for it anymore. The way many so-called Christians interact online sickens me: the smugness, the hatred, the vitriol and spite, it all makes me want to have nothing to do with any of it. Couple with that the pressure of being a public example of Jesus — pressure that I began to feel at around age 16 — and it serves to make a quiet, civilian life look pretty appealing when considering the alternative.
With exceptions that I could count on one hand, I have attended my last 150 or so masses alone.
To be honest, I don’t really know why I am posting this. I know for a fact that much of the information I am divulging will be received with glee from many in the Calvinistic world. But I’m in a reflective mood, sue me.
(Actually, please don’t sue me, I can’t afford it. I’m driving a loaner car that doubles in value when I fill it up with gas.)
Someone asked me recently whether, if I could go back in time, I would make the same choice. My response was, humanly speaking, “Absolutely not.” I would rather be like Cipher from The Matrix, blissfully ignorant and enjoying the spoils of what was in reality a lie.
But then I came across the scene below from one of my favorite films. At the 1:40 mark when Martin Landau’s character is asked whether he would change his choice so many years prior to abandon his study of the Torah and study to be a lawyer instead, his response, delivered with great sadness and resignation, was, “What choice?”
Catholicism is true, even though I don’t like it. Catholicism is true, even if embracing it has been an unmitigated disaster.
(You can file this one under the category of Most Counterproductive Conversion Stories Ever.)