So many interesting things happen whenever I enjoy Saturday 'downtime.' Let me set the setting. I got up early in the morning, trained, (P90x Chest, Shoulders and triceps) returned home and continued working on a website for a fellow trainer. By about 2pm,.I felt mentally exhausted and thus decided to go for a drive, to decompress. My destination of choice was the Christian Book Depot, run by two of the most inspiring faith filled evangelical Christians I have ever had the privelidge of meeting. I have spoken about them before, for more info use the 'search' located on the Blog. Anyway, going through the threshold of this store makes me always feel comfortable, an overbearing sense of peace. Yes, we do disagree on some issues, but it has become an exercise in authentic ecumenism, as the Truths they do hold, I do not disagree with. This day's experiment would be a little different.
I met a couple there shopping, and through dialogue, we started to draw comparisons as lay people whereby the Gospel is not being preached faithfully. I agreed and pointed out certain areas that were in a sense 'hijacked' by politically correct feminist individuals trying to undermine the social class (abortion, homosexual agenda...). After several minutes she said her denomination, so matter of factly 'Baptist' and I in turn said 'Catholic.' Wellllllllllll,.....she might as well have heard 'child raping serial murderer/satanic idolator.' Thus my friendly conversation became an all out assault against (what she believed) my Church taught.
Oh boy, here we go,..(a silent prayer to the Holy Spirit for patience and kindness)
My friend, the owner, a very devout man, I'm sure sat praying for this lady, that I wouldn't destroy her faith,..I didn't. All I did was defend as best I can six (6) questions that were rattled off at me without having the time to answer individually. I had had enough,.so I asked the lady, can I speak now? Trying as best I could to be charitable (believe me it was hard...). 'Madam, please refrain from telling me what or what I do not believe,..if you are open, and both of us believe we possess truth, yet there can only be one truth, this would mean one of us is in error. Do you agree? I can't affirm the existence of a chair and that it doesn't exist at the same time. She replied yes. (wheww,..good start). Her first question was about Mary's Immaculate Conception. (She said that if I answered this to her satisfaction, she'd be more willing to listen in the future.
I began,.('Luke 1.) The angelic greeting uses the greek 'Kecharitomene' which is a perfect past participle. The latin vulgate translates 'Full of Grace' or 'Graced one.' This word/title appears no where else in the New Testament. I was lucky, because there were greek concordances everywhere...The angel, throughout the Bible as well as history, acts as a messenger from God. Do you agree? She replied in the affirmative. Therefore we can conclude by deduction, that God is calling her 'full of Grace.' She answered, to paraphrase, 'yeah,.I guess so..but what about this Immaculate conception?' Well,.I began, if Mary is already 'Full of Grace' and the Passion/Death/Ressurection hasn't happened yet,..it only comes toward the end of Luke's Gospel,.what becomes the natural conclusion? Answer,.that she was preserved from sin!. (The look on her face was priceless...!!!) She wasn't angry, but I think her appetite was wet for more. So I gave her my email, and left her with a thought. 'Madam, the New Testament we have today was discerned at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage under St Jerome and Pope Sylvestre. The Holy Spirit used the Church to create the Canon. How can you as a protestant, reject Tradition when the first 350years of Christianity used it.. Needless to say we left on a pleasant note.
The title of this post reflects what at one time, especially when I was confronted I would do,..either get really angry, which is wrong, or remove myself from the conversation which is equally wrong. I remembered a quote from philosophy class, that 'information will always be received by the mode of the receiver.' I had mentioned a silent prayer to the Holy Spirit,..the key is that we don't convert or save anybody, God does!!!
Ecce Agnus Dei.