We all have a right to our own opinions and ideas about God, church, and faith, so here are a few of mine that I have kept to myself for just too long. You gotta be true to yourself and honestly I am just trying to express my heart and my hurts.
1. I am so SICK AND TIRED of other Christians that think Catholics are the Anti-christ or evil or hypocrites. I am sorry for any of you that have had any negative experiences with us, but get over it and confess it to God and move on with love instead of judgement. And, I on the flip side have had negative experiences with other Christians, so don't think that ANYONE is perfect. You know what? At the core of my faith is what is at the core of yours too.
HECK, this all even applies to people that are not Christian at all in any way. I respect everyone, no matter what you believe.
2. I have read my bible my whole life (I can quote you but just not great at where to find it sometimes) and gone to prayer groups and love Christian music and have felt the Holy Spirit just as strong as anyone. I was very active in youth ministry at my home parish, music ministry (we did LOTS of praise and worship music; shocking!), I directed the Alpha course many times and was very involved in everything, because I wanted to. Because, the stuff we do comes out of our love for God and our heart for others.
3. I struggled in high school and later on a bit, but for the most part, I grew up in church. And my mom drove me nuts and took me to all these Christian conferences and speakers when I was young, because as of then, there was not much around our area for Catholics. Didn't scare or intimidate us in any way, as we were secure in our FAITH and love in JESUS. I am very blessed indeed to have a mom who was my "Paul" and brought me up really deeply in my faith.
4. How come I will go to anything like Christian concerts, other church service events, etc, but other Christians will RARELY come to anything similar that a Catholic, heck or even Anglican will invite them to or even want to listen to the joy and love that we have experienced. That is SO not being open and loving and filled with Jesus. I like modern stuff, but I also like traditional stuff. We can't be closed minded to one or the other; there is so much beauty in both. That would mean that old hymns should be thrown out and new music should too?
5. Our aim should not be to convert anyone to any building, it is about finding faith in Jesus and where you feel led to be, even though I have truly found the fullness of my faith where I am. I can say this because I "left" the Catholic church and church in general on and off for almost a year. My world was crumbling, I was mad at God and hated everyone I came across, and wanted to just do my own thing and live how the rest of the world did. Thank God, that he did not let me do anything too stupid or wander away too far. Then, had a wonderful life changing event at a Christian church and went that way for a certain number of months. I had truly lived and breathed both sides, if you could call it that, and really understood how sometimes misunderstandings and ignorance gets in the way.
6. I feel sad for anyone that thinks they are the greatest Christian ever but still hold so much bitterness and resentment and hate against any past Catholic or Christian friends, family or other hurts. They have not dealt with it with God, because if they did, they would feel truly free and not carry around this big burden of hate. You can have a bad experience in any type of church, with any type of person, in any walk of life. Why don't you hear about that? I feel for you, but you gotta deal with it and move on either way and see ANY DENOMINATION or Christian as your brother and sister in Christ.
7. Catholics are Christians. Christian means "Christ-like" and was first used to name the early church people. The term Catholic was also used pretty early on as well, as it means "universal". Don't attack others especially if you will not even bother to share your common beliefs, listen to others point of view, read good stuff about the early church, the apostles, Jesus, or history. Think for yourself; not because someone is standing up there and talking. I know many people that were Pentecostal and even Pentecostal ministers with their own churches that became Catholic and brought their dynamic zeal to their new church and are using their awesome knowledge and talents to liven things up.
8. If a Catholic or Christian doesn't know what the heck they believe or why they go to church, because it is routine or a family thing? they should think about making a decision. When you die, and go wherever you think you are going, maybe Jesus will be there (ha) and he won't know who you are and you can't hide behind anyone or anything. It is all about HIM. You can't love everything opposite to God and God at the same time. If there is a church that is boring or whatever and you are not involved at all, try to make some friends, go to a potluck, bible study, look at the bulletin,...WE are the church and our job is to use our gifts and talents to inspire and build up everyone. Don't just sit and be miserable; even if you have to drive an extra 20 minutes for a church family you love and are connected to, it is so worth it.
9. I love Matt Maher, who is a very well-known Christian music artist. His music is very inspiring and beautiful, but what rarely any one knows is that he is a very solid and Jesus-loving Catholic. See, he wants to touch souls and help others regardless and not let judgement and pride get in the way.
10. Don't judge or you will be judged. Isn't that what Jesus said? I (and our churches) owe so much to the vibrant bible-believing Christians that are out there that brought us awesome music and an example of being totally committed to God. It is not extreme to throw away all your booze, drugs, crap on TV, selfish lifestyle. In fact, it is probably the best way to live your life as a Christian. That's hard. There are so many wonderful Christian people that helped me and changed my life when I was away from church and started going back again. I love them. They brought me food when I was on my own and had no job and no money and sick family back home and so much stress. And laughs and long talks and good times.
And it was then that I remembered all the love I received in my then 32 years from my Catholic church family also. That a Christian is a Christian as long as you believe in Jesus as the one that saves us by his death on the cross from so many things past, present, and future. That the bible is real and relevant, and like one saint put it, ignorance of the bible is ignorance of Christ. And that that when I miss church on Sunday (like lately due to bad sickness and blizzards), it feels like missing something so important, like my next breath, that will make me so happy when I next go.
Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven.