Crossing the Tiber:

This is my response to this article: A New Trend: Crossing the Tiber

By the time you read my article, several months shall have passed, but I am sticking to my posting every 4 days rule. It’s been very healthy for me to do so, it gives me time to process thoughts and really reflect critically on some matters of crucial import.

However, I am thrilled to say that I too am glad to be crossing the Tiber, because for me as well, Evangelical was not enough. Protestant wasn’t enough Christianity for me. I wanted the fullness of it, I desired to know this God not just as an idea or a projection my ego, but historically through the lives of the people he has revealed himself to, from Abraham to Jesus, to the Apostles and the the Saints, I knew there were consistencies that the god that Evangelicalism painted simply did not fit into. That’s when I knew I had to begin anew my quest for faith.

I know that my reasons for exploring and ultimately deciding to become Roman Catholic are multifaceted and have as many virtues as they have imperfections. But, I am a young former evangelical who needed a correlation to the intellectualism that was so despised by the churches i attended, and I needed something grounded in history. The more I read the bible the more i saw history and tradition as the guiding sources that created the New Testament.

I began this conversion as a series of thought experiments that I wish I had detailed more closely, but I suppose the crucial thing is that I dared to imagine “What if Catholics have a truth?” I started with one. I started with the idea that the eucharist might really need to be the center of our worship, and in so doing, discovered sacramental theology and dogmatic theology and all the beauties of thinking in and with Christianity instead of about and at it.

I looked at the way I worshiped, and saw that while people were fighting for freedom from the Church, I wanted freedom for the Church. I wanted to be free to practice a Christianity that had historical as well as liturgical continuity, I wanted to be accepted for my mental talents as well as my spiritual ones, and I wanted these talents to be cultivated in a setting where i would have no restrictions on how intellectually or spiritually adept i could be.

I found that the only alternative I had was a magisterial Christianity.

I used to look at Christianity, now I believe that I more closely see through it, to the world outside. This has at times been a difficult process that has made me a bit bigoted, or uncharitable, or difficult to manage. But I have always attempted to be faithful to Truth, and in so doing have found that the truths I sought had one source of Truth, and that the source of that story was echoed in the magisterial traditions. When it came to choosing between East and West, I didn’t really have a choice to make. I feel as if Rome chose me.

I am glad to know I am not alone, though the path has been hard at times I have loved it, moment for moment. I used to think real Christianity began around 1900 with the Azusa street revival. Little did I know that there was a huge and luminous history waiting to embrace me when I merely took off my blinders. At one point Martin Luther was an iconic hero, overthrowing the Church for the sake of the scriptures and Christ, as Anne Rice recently did. However, I learned that this wasn’t a heroic movement at all, and that history when read fairly was tilted with a bias that favored Luther, at least as I had been taught.

I worked to undo these biases, and attempt to let Catholicism have a level playing field, and when it did, the majesty of the Church overwhelmed me, and the barely out of the over concoction that was being spoon fed to the masses at the church where I converted had no effect on me. I was under a new and meaningful authority, and it was not a frontal lobotomy, it was peace.

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4 thoughts on “Crossing the Tiber:

    • Thank you, it’s good to meet a fellow convert. Also, i am sorry for the delay. I have not had a computer to use.

  1. I’m a bit confused by the first sentence. Why will several months have passed? Did you write this months ago, or (more likely) is there something terribly obvious i’m missing?

    “I used to look at Christianity, now I believe that I more closely see through it, to the world outside.”

    I think this is worth looking at a bit. One thing that strikes me about many of the great examples of Christianity is how internalized (if that’s the right word) their faith becomes. Their faith is not something static, or external to them. It’s dynamic, it lives and breathes along with the flesh. In some ways faith isn’t something they come to believe, but is rather axiomatic to all their other beliefs. Its the basis of reason. I read this quote the other day, I think its from Emerson. It struck me as succinctly expressing this attitude:

    “They call it Christianity. I call it consciousness”.

    This expresses that the act of being, and the act of being Christian, are one and the same.

    I can only hope that one day I can reach that same consciousness.

    • Hey Mike, I wrote this several months ago.

      I love the quote you provided, it’s a great quote. C.S. Lewis wrote an article about this internalization process and distinguished between “looking at” and “looking along” a ray of light. If one walks into a dark shed and sees a ray of light they see everything it touches and nothing more. If they step into that light they see through it and see the trees behind the shed and the wider world outside.

      It’s a matter of faith, and discipline, and patience. I don’t have all the answers, or live a perfect life, but I have found that it helps to think about ethics, economics, politics, relationships and many other things through the doctrines of the Church. it makes for easier choice making and removes us from the vacuum we sometimes find ourselves in.

      As always, thanks for reading, and commenting. ^_^

      Peace be with you.

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