It’s time for me to examine my lack of charity.
In my mind, I’m merely excited and proud about the faith of my childhood – in a way I never was.
But is reality something different? Sometimes surely, that excitement and zeal come across as fanaticism. I’ve been lovingly and charitably told as much.
Have I become guilty of triumphalism? Am I so convinced in the truth of my faith that I’ve inferred a lack of truth anywhere else? Chances are good I’m at least implying it. It’s going to take some serious introspection.
While I no longer believe the widely Unitarian (and originally Hindu) idea that “all paths lead up the same mountain”, I don’t believe I have the monopoly on truth.
The road lined with good intentions.
In my heart, I’m truly interested in ecumenical and even interfaith dialogue. That doesn’t mean I’m doing either well. I’ve truly enjoyed discussing faith with others. I’ve given hours of warm hospitality to Mormon visitors, chatted with an extremely ecumenical Baptist friend, interacted online and in person with Muslims, Atheists, Pagans and more. But I’m not as charitable as I imagine myself.
Apologists for the faith are quick to point to 1Peter3:15. It says “always be ready to give a defense”, not always be ready to cram your beliefs down others throats. Okay, in fairness to myself I’m not that bad. But to hear me talk with excitement about historicity, faith and reason, or other topics you might not see my “good intentions”.
While I believe the Catholic claim to the fullness of reveal truth in the Christian faith, it doesn’t mean the exclusion that no other Christians or even other faiths have truth.
Indeed, I am acutely aware that the church’s claim to the fullness of Christian truth is an indictment against us. Were I living the grace available to me, it would be a more inviting place. The fact that I don’t is a scandal. It’s the reason you see bumper stickers about loving our Christ, but not our Christians.
It is with great humility that I ask you: please don’t judge a medicine by those that neglect it. (Or in my case, not taking as directed). Furthermore, please remember we are a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints.
In the spirit (and true desire) of not being polemic, I’ve considered revising my tagline “Addicted to Jesus Christ, and the His Church”. not because I don’t believe Jesus founded it, but because of how it comes across.
You’ll find me looking for merciful criticism. Mercy sometimes being defined as a kindness we don’t deserve. I’m not only looking for a tagline that’s more inviting but for suggestions on a course correction on a path to not seeming fanatical.