Friday, July 18, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT7

May 2005. That is when I began my meetings on a weekly basis with Msgr. Reed. Now if you know me, you know that I generally am well prepared for situations...most of the time. This was no exception. About a week earlier I remember going to WalMart to buy a miniature recorder and a pack of tapes. (I know that we are in the digital age....but I am frugal). The night before I met with Msgr I stayed up for a long time and made a list of what I wanted to talk about. I went in with an agenda. First things first. I wanted to discuss and find out what the Catholic doctrine was on what I believed to be the basis of my faith at the time. I wanted to know about Scripture, Salvation, Baptism, and that was just the beginning. There was something inside of me that wanted something to be wrong.....bad wrong. I knew that if I couldn't find anything, I would join the Church. I didn't know when, or how, but I knew that I would.





It wasI still rembember walking to the Parish offices for the first time. It was a very strange feeling. When I walked through the door the first thing I came to was a 4ft crucifix on the left hand side of the hallway. The giftshop followed with the curved glass window filled with all types of Catholic items, statues of the Saints who had gone before, the Blessed Mother, Rosaries, books....I simply couldn't belive that I was actually going through with this. In some senses I felt as though I was having an affair, something that had to be hidden and kept from the light. After all, at this time, I was still a Reformed Presbyterian and I didn't NEARLY understand the conflict that would be coming on that front--and that was a good thing. Msgr. Reed and I began with a prayer, he crossed himself in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and I just sat there wondering what was going to come next and what he was really thinking...and why was I here, now. Remember at this time I really didn't understand yet about Sacraments, the Eucharist, or any other of the details of Catholic theology but I was hungry and wanted to know. The first thing we started off with was the Scripture. What was the Catholic view of the Bible? Why did I want to know this? Remember, from my background the Bible was the final authority of our faith. Was it just a "good book", A "guide book", or was it the Word of God? And what about all these extra books? Why does the Catholic Bible have 73 books instead of 66? Who added them?

What I found out is that the Catholic Church does believe that the Bible is the Word of God: Inspired, Infallible and authoritative. More than that though, I found out that the Catholic Faith is like a three legged stool. The Scripture cannot stand and was not designed to stand on its own as a sole foundation of our faith. Christ came to establish the Church, not a book! As is stated in 1Tim 3:15

But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.

Why didn't St Paul state that the Bible was the "pillar and foundation of truth"? Because it was not the way it was designed by our Lord. For the first 4oo years of the Church, there was no defined Bible and there were all sorts of gospels floating around that were being read. It was at that time that the Catholic Church assembled the Bible that we have today-all 73 books. (back to that later). Prior to that time, how did Christians live? How did they develop their theology and their beliefs? It was by the Sacred Tradition that was passed down orally. Listen to what Jesus told his disciples in John 14:24-26:

24
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25 "I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.

As Christians, have we really understood what Christ was saying here? Christ told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and remind them of everything that He had taught them. Then we read from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:

2 I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.

Tradition in this sense is not bad or evil, or legalistic. The Tradition we were speaking of is the action of the Holy Spirit guiding all the Apostles and their successors with the True Faith of His Church. This is what guided the Early Church, not the 73 books of the Bible. And this Truth still guides us today; Truth did not get lost, and He did not lose control over his Church. Christianity was not hijacked by the Catholic Religion and Luther and the Reformers didn't "rescue" the Church. To believe this is to doubt the power and Sovreignty of the Holy Spirit and insinuates than Our Lord had no idea what he was saying.

It was in this meeting that I also found out about the third leg on this stool, the Magisterium, or the Teaching Authority of the Church. This is how God speaks and guides us today. The Holy Spirit continues to guide his Body through the Holy Father to teach and to guide us. Therefore all three supports must be there to balance our Faith: Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Teaching authority of the Church: In this I saw balance. No man can give his own private revelation from God without the ability to back it up and test it. Scripture is not open to private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20-21

20
Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

Finally I found out why Catholic Bibles have those extra books! When the Scriptures were cannonized in 382, there were 73 books in the Bible. (Including 1 & 2 Macabees, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and certain portions of Esther and Daniel). If you look at the very first Edition of the KJV, 1594 all these books are still included. The reason that they are not in the Protestant Bible is for the simple fact that the Reformers REMOVED them, they were not ADDED by the Catholic Church. Why did they remove them? Who gave them the authority to do so? The answer to the 2nd question is that I don't know. The reason to the first question is as follows: They were written in Greek. When the Jews met at the Council of Jamnia, they accepted their cannon of scripture and they would not accept anything that was written in Greek. Another reason they rejected the books was simply becuase some of the new Jewish Christians were using these books to convert the Jews to the Christian faith. Since the Jews didn't accept the books, the Reformers decided that there must be something to that and followed their lead and pull them out as well. In addition, these books also have references to very Catholic doctrines that they were separating themselves from. (very short explanation) Therefore, from that point forward, the Protestant Bible remains with only 66 books.

And this was just the first meeting.........

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT6

Wow.....So the doctrine of Sola Scriptura at that point was no longer valid to me, I knew that it was no longer a valid basis of my Christian faith. At this point I know that many people who read this are screaming HERESY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I well can understand, I was there. But is it REALLY???? What is the foundation and basis of our Christian faith. As we are followers of our Lord, what did he tell us? What did he leave us? Did he give us any hints, any direction upon which to base our faith, since the Scriptures weren't even around yet? I do believe that he did and this is where my faith took the next step. I remember each time I would run across a new fact, a new teaching (new to me, not a newly revealed teaching, as there is no newly revealed doctrines) I would keep Laura up till all hours of the evening or morning telling her--explaining the truth that I was learning. The Eucharist, the Sacraments, Confession, they all began to make sense. For years growing up I had these nagging questions which I couldn't answer, as a matter of fact I couldn't even define them as questions because I didn't know. I would just say that I felt that something was not "centered", that is the easiest way I can explain it. But it was all coming together like pieces of a mystical jigsaw puzzle .

The only problem was that more than one person was starting to see it come together...mainly Laura. With all the reading I was doing, she knew something was up, but she had no idea. I still remember one Sunday Morning before we had moved to McIlwain, and before I had been scared away from the Catholic Church I went to visit a Mass at Our Savior Catholic Church here in Pensacola. I remember getting ready and Laura told me "Don't you get any ideas, now....we aren't going to become Catholics!" Neither of us had any idea what was moving before us. I politely told her that I would NEVER become a Catholic, I was just interested in going and seeing as I had never done so before. Now, years later my view had changed. Mentally, I was moving very quickly....more quickly that I ever could have imagined. There was one night when Laura and I were laying in bed as we always do...talking until hours that we shouldn't and she asked me the question: "You are going to become a Catholic, aren't you?" Silence was the only thing that I could offer her. "I don't know" I responded. The problem was that I did know. Our Lord was calling me from the innermost part of my being...calling me Home and I knew it was going to effect us. The next words out of her mouth (as Laura has never been one to mince words) were: "You do know....tell me" Gulp....what was I was going to say to her? The only thing I could do is try to put it off as long as possible. It worked for Scott Hahn, maybe it would work for me...it was worth a try. "I might", I told her, "but it will be at least 3 or 4 years, never anytime soon." That seemed to hold for now.


In the meantime I suddenly found Catholics all around me that I never knew were there and if they weren't there, I sought them out. My buddy that I was working with at the car dealership with at the time was a "quiet Catholic". It is hard to be a loud Catholic in and of itself, but it is even harder when you are living smack dab on the buckle of the Bible Belt. In a town where Pensacola Christian College and Pensacola Bible Institute co-exist and in a city that was rocked by the Brownsville Revival, being Catholic is not the easiest path to take. When you blend in the fact that the Catholic Church had just itself been rocked by it's own problems and scandals, this was not the best time to pull into a Conversion situation. It is very strange, but when the Lord calls you none of that matters anymore. Every distraction is eclipsed by Him and that is what was happening. So Shawn and I would talk almost daily about our faith as he himself had come to the Church from a Lutheran background, yet he was still amazed that a "Bible Thumper" as we were all called down here, would come to the Church. I would call my buddy Stewart and talk to him incessantly (as he was the one who got me into this situation). I remember a distinct conversation that we had and he told me, "slow down....ask the Holy Spirit to guide you....you have just discovered the World's Largest Onion and you are trying to digest it in one bite!" How true that is. " A God that we can comprehend is not a God that we can worship." All of the sudden I was coming to see in my life the width, the breadth and the depth of our Lord. That our God is an Eternal God with Eternal facets and no matter how much I read, how much I studied, I would never be able to understand his ways, his precepts and his reasoning. I just had to slow down...take it easy, rest in Him and that is really what I was trying to do, but I still had to have answers.


The first thing that I did other than my conversations with my buddies was to call the local Diocese office. I was moving to the point that I had to visit a parish, but I had no idea which one to visit. When I called I wound up speaking with Sister Margaret Kuntz, who I would find out later was in the Department of Christian formation in the Diocese. She told me that what was happening to me was that God was calling me...and I needed to follow him. It was shortly after that conversation that I decided to visit my first Mass in 3 years...this time it was serious. I had read some and was continuing to read on Doctrines, and I needed to find out in person. I had the perfect plan. I would simply do the same thing I did before, sneak into the back pew, sit, watch, and if I liked it, I would find some way to connect with a Priest. So Friday afternoon, on the way back home from work, I found the closest Parish to my house and this happened to be the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

I knew where it was and I couldn't wait for the next morning. Early Saturday morning I went to the Parish and pulled on the huge wooden doors with the twisted brass handles. I was nervous and scared...filled with expectation of what was awaiting me inside. I knew that I was going to have a new encounter with our Lord, one that I had not had before. Only one problem. The doors were locked. I could not believe it! I had come all this way and now the doors were locked. This really was supposed to happen differently. On my way back to the car, a very nice lady stopped me and directed me to the side chapel where Mass was being held this morning. SIDE CHAPEL!!!! I walked through another heavy wooden door with another twisted brass handle and I all of the sudden became very scared. I was going to have no place to hide. All of the sudden I was the only Protestant in a room of about 15 Catholics. If you have never been to a Mass before and you are attending for the first time, believe me, you will stick out like a sore thumb, and I did! But I was touched that morning in a way I never had been before. I was not distracted by lights, music, shouting or waving. What I heard was the Scriptures, very straight forward and I heard the Gospel proclaimed not in a way that was one persons interpretation, but a simple Gospel, a Gospel that literally changed my life. Then came the Eucharist.
Now at this time, I had little idea of what I was witnessing, but what I saw I new was real. What I saw was the priest elevate the Host and I knew something very special was happening. I knew Jesus was there, but in a way that I had never felt him before....stronger than I had felt him before. Now I understood what people meant by the "Real Presence". Our Lord was there in that Eucharist and I knew it. On the way out, I met a man who probably played the biggest parts in my conversion, Msgr. Michael Reed. He very graciously greeted me and asked me a few questions. After I explained my plight to him and asked him if we could chat sometime, he agreed. Too bad he had no idea what he was getting himself into.........

Monday, July 14, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT5



Wow! It is hard to believe that it has been well over a month since I last hit the BLOGGER. Life is busy with a family and things are really well. It is good to take a step back sometimes and look at what is really important in life.




I really want to continue and be able to put into a written format what really happened to me during my conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. So far what I have covered has been more of emotions. How I felt, etc. Obviously nobody of a logical nature would make a decision based on emotions; especially such an important decision as what I was considering. I guess that reading "Rome Sweet Home" really brought the two major pillars of Protestantism into question into my life. I will probably have time to only deal with one right now so I choose to start with the one that made the biggest impact on me, the portestant doctrine Sola Scriptura. Obviously, I am not entending to present an entire book here on the error of Sola Scriptura as there are many books who do a MUCH better job that I can, but rather my goal here is to give an arial view of the lay of the foundation of the Catholic Faith. I can't touch on everything here.




Just for credit, much of the information that I am using along with the format came from this link by Tim Staples. He may be much easier to read than I am. http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?id=4623&repos=1&subrepos=&searchid=257673



Sacred Scripture--Scriptural???


My entire life, as I said earlier, I was a full believer in the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. If you are a Protestant and are not aware of the doctrine, I would say.....yes you are, even though you may not know it. Here is an example: If I were to ask you to defend or back up any belief, doctrine, or dogma of your faith, where would you go? What would you use? How would you defend it. Of course, you would go to the Bible. Would you use anything else? NO!! Why? Because if you go to any Protestant church's statement of belief, you would come across something of this nature:


The Holy Bible, and only the Bible, is the authoritative Word of God. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. In its original writing, it is inspired, infallible and inerrant.


So my question that I raise on this is the following: Where do we find (in the 66 books of the Bible) that the said 66 books are to be the sole deposit of our faith and the final authority on all doctrinal truths? Furthermore, how are we to know that the 66 books that are listed in the Protestant Bible (73 for Catholics) are inspired and are supossed to be included in the deposit of Sacred Scripture. I will challenge anybody to find it, because it isn't there. If you do, please let me know and I will firmly and definitely recant.


I want to make an interjection at this point. Don't hear what I am not saying. I firmly believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. Period. It is Sacred. It is God's Word to us. My difference here is the teaching that Scripture is the SOLE FINAL deposit of faith and I actually haven't been able to find that taught anywhere in Scripture.


Generally, the verses that people use to back up this teaching will include the following:


II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.






I do believe that Scripture is useful for teaching, correction, and training. However my first point in this verse is that Paul is writing to Timothy and if you read v15, Paul is speaking about the Scriptures that Timothy has learned since his infancy. If this is the case then this verse would not be referring the 66 books as the Protestants believe; it would rather be the Old Testament, as the New Testament and the entire Bible wasn't even compiled at the time this verse was authored. SO, even if this verse WERE referring to the formal sufficiency of Scripture, (which it isn't) it would be referring to the OLD TESTAMENT. Secondly, this verse speaks of how Scripture is meant to beused, it's purpose so to speak. It has no reference to a SOLE SUFFIECNCY of the current 66 books of Scripture. To interpret this way is to read something that is not in the text.




II Peter 1:20-21


20 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.


These verses are a little different......again, they have nothing to do with a formal sufficiency of Scripture. They don't and can't refer to the 66 books of Scripture as the Sole and final deposit of faith. As a matter of fact, the very opposite!! These verses tell us that we CAN'T interpret Scripture individually....It can only mean what it was originally meant to relay. We don't have the ability to "personally" interpret Scripture to fit our own means or situations. Scripture was given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles of Christ, therefore for us to understand the true meaning of any Scripture, we must understand the intention of the Author, in this case the Holy Spirit.


Lastly on this point, I stated earlier that there was not any Scriptural basis to back up the 66 books of Scripture being the Sole and Final deposit of faith. Now the next question is, if the Scriptures aren't the final authority of our faith, who or what is? The answer to that question is something that blew me out of the water and that answer was found in 1Timothy 3:15:



15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.



Read that verse over and over again. Paul wrote Timothy and told him not that the Bible or Sacred Scripture is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth, but that the CHURCH is the Pillar and foundation of Truth. This again is a follow up to what Christ declared to Peter in Matthew:




Matthew 16:18-19


18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."




Again, this is a direct reference to the Church as our foundation. Scriputure is TREMENDOUSLY important...but cannot stand alone. Based on this and much more, I would say that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is NOT Scriptural.




Sola Scriptura--Historical??



If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not Scriptural, what does history teach us about the authority of Scripture? When we talk about Church history, most of us think about Luther, the Reformation and move forward from there, not remembering and realizing that there WAS a Christian Church before then. What was the Church like 100 years after the Ascension of our Lord? What did they believe? What did they base their faith on? How did they live? The first thing that we have to remember is that the earliest Christians were actually Jews who had accepted Christ as their Messiah and due to this they had been kicked out of the synogogues and had nowhere left to go. They then went to the Christian churches that were meeting at that time on Sundays and were reading these letters that had been circulating from the Apostles of the Church. They had no "Bible", No Old Testament, no New Testament, just the Tanak (Jewish Scriptures) and what was being taught by the Apostles. The Bible that we use wasn't even assembled until the middle of the fourth Century and when it was assembled, who determined what was considered Scripture an what wasn't??? That is right, the Catholic Church. And they stated that all books to be considered Scripture had to meet 4 guidelines: 1)The book had to be written by an Apostle or a disciple of an Apostle 2) it had to be written close to the time of Christ 3) It could not contradict current teaching of the Church and 4) it had to be widely read among the Churches. That, ladies and gentlemen is how we got the New Testament. And by the way, at the time the Canon of Scripture was closed in the 4th Century, it had 73 books and remained that way until the Reformation and Luther. It was at that time that he and some of the other reformers removed the 7 books often referred to as the Apocrypha. My question on this is, who gave him the authority to remove books that had been inserted? I digress......the point is that the Early Church and the Church up to the time of the Reformation had never heard of a doctrine of Sola Scriptura, this is a teaching that has only been taught and accepted since the Reformation. Finally if Sola Scriptura is an "essential" doctrine of our faith, I am guessing that those Christians that lived prior to 397 A.D. either missed out, or were under a different standard...along with all those Christians through the ages and even now in other parts of the world that aren't able to have Scripture...How do they build their faith?



Sola Scriptura---Historical....I don't think so.



Sola Scriptura--Logical??


As a very last item, I want to take a look at if the doctrine of Sola Scriptura actually is logical. So, if you are a Protestant and you believe that Scripture is the sole and final deposit of faith and it is the Word of God, then for it to be Truth, there has to be something or someone to confirm it as truth. That is a basic tenant of logic. Something is not true just because I say it is. "Consensus does not make the untrue true". Therefore, what makes Scripture true? It is not because we were taught it was the Word of God, or because our Pastor taught us it was the Word of God, or because we believe it is the Word of God. Scripture is Scripture and Holy and Inerrant and Inspired because of the fact that the Church that Christ established confirmed and agreed that the books that they had were the Word of God. Bottom line. Now how are we to guarantee that what we believe about Scripture is correct and how it is to be interpreted? If I can read your mind now, you are saying the Holy Spirit that indwells us. The only question that I had about that was two fold. 1) If that is the case, then why is the Holy Spirit telling 10.000+ denominations different things? That isn't very logical. And 2) If the Holy Spirit is guiding me, then how can I guarantee that what I am hearing is actually the Holy Spirit? Again if I am reading your mind you are now saying that what the Holy Spirit is telling you should be confirmed by Scripture. OK...now my head is spinning because if you are like me at this point, there is no plumbline...no solid rule to judge what Scripture really means...no clear interpretation and what we wind up doing is running to a free for all where everybody is doing what they believe the Holy Spirit is telling them to do and if they don't find somebody in their church who agrees with them, they will either find another church that they do agree with or start a new one.
Nowhere in Scripture are we allowed to pick and choose what we do or what we don't believe in. That is a very dangerous road to embark upon and one that I am glad I don't have to go down. I am forever grateful for the guidance and wisdom of the Church and that she protects and guides us perfectly to the heart of our Lord.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT4




So here I am, wading into uncharted waters and really I am the only one that is understanding what is going on in my head and I really can't let anyone else know where I am going and what what I am thinking. I had no real idea what the repercussions would be in my life and how my family and my church would respond. In regard to Laura, I had confidence in her love for me and her commitment to our marriage, so I wasn't afraid that this could end our relationship but I did know that it would cause some issues so I chose to hide my thoughts from her as long as possible. I still was in a "discovery mode" at this time and was trying to discern between being enamored with what I was seeing and what if any truth the Catholic Church contained, but I was committed to find out what was drawing me and why, but where was I to start......discreetly. I remembered my buddy Stewart who had brought me the Catechism said that he had gotten it from a little Catholic bookstore around the corner. I had no idea about any Catholic bookstore, but I was about to find it as quick as I could. I still remember taking that lunch break and driving down the road to find the bookstore, Our Lady's Jubilee. I had no idea where it was and what to expect when I got there, but I had a good idea that what I was going to find was going to be a good bit different than the Lifeway and Family bookstores to which I had become accustomed. Come to find out the bookstore was within a mile from the dealership, which made this easy because I could get there and back in under 10 minutes; this left the better part of an hour to walk around and find out what was going on. Now I have always had a pretty "tame" personality and the only way that I can compare my first visit to this bookstore would be to compare it to what I think it would feel like to enter some type of "adult establishment" if you catch my drift. There is no way I would want ANYBODY to know that I was visiting this bookstore and I was really wishing that I had a trench coat and sunglasses right about now, but I didn't and all the sudden I had that feeling like I had to go to the bathroom....really bad. "Deep breaths....it is OK...it is just a bookstore...nobody has to know yet." The lady greeted me with a smile and asked how she could help me, so I briefly informed her of my quandary, being that a Reformed Presbyterian in a Catholic bookstore was a little strange and uncomfortable. That is when I found a book that would literally change my life and solidify my move to the Roman Catholic Church. She explained to me in brief form about a book by
a gentleman by the name of Scott Hahn, who I had heard of before in my reading, but I really didn't put 2+2 together until now. Scott Hahn is very popular now within Catholic apologetic circles and is truly a part of a re-awakening that is taking place in re-catechising Catholics and explaining to Protestants in a concise and beautiful way what we as Catholics ACTUALLY believe. So I picked up the book knowing that I was on my way out of town in the next week or so.
Now remember, this all had gone on within a couple week period, from the death Pope John Paul II, so things for me were moving pretty quickly. At this time, Laura was planning to go out of town to Birmingham to see my family, which coinsided with a trip that I needed to make to Atlanta for a BMW training event so this was going to work out perfectly for me; I had planned it out in my head. I would leave Birmingham one morning early to go to my meeting, but I would stop off in Irondale at EWTN. That day was the morning that the conclave(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_conclave) was meeting to start the process of selecting a new Pope, so off I headed to Atlanta. Walking around I really didn't even know what I was looking at and there wasn't a whole lot there, but I spent most of my time in the bookstore, chapel and another meeting room that they had that had benches and Confessionals in it. I had already began reading the book and began to understand what was happening. After I left EWTN I decided to call my buddy Stewart (which by the way resulted in an enormous cell phone bill for that month) and inform him of where I was heading.
To summarize, Scott Hahn was a student at Gordon Conwell Theolgoical Seminary in the mid 8o's when he did a doctoral research paper on the faults and lackings of the Roman Catholic Church. During this period he found that the very opposite was true and one by one all the supports that upheld his protestant beliefs fell like dominos until he had no other option than to come Home. I did go to Bible College, but I wasn't a theological genius shown by the fact that prior to my move to the Presbyterian Church, I had never heard of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide and now those were starting to fall rather quickly. The problem is that for my entire life that I can remember I had been taught these two principles, even though I didn't know the theological terminology :
1) Sola Scriptura which is defined by the Westminster Catechism as: "The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God."
2) Sola Fide is the Protestant doctrine that our Salvation is based on our faith alone.
The problem with both of these doctrines are two fold. First of all, neither of these doctrines are supported by Scripture and secondly without either of these doctrines, protestantism fails to exist. This is why my entire world was falling apart; the foundation of everything that I believed was shifting and I was very quickly becoming unable to focus on anything else except for getting answers.
After I got off the extensive phone call with Stewart, I knew that I was in desparate need of help and I wanted to know that I was going down a road that if followed to it's conclusion would change my life forever. Then I made a second call to my then pastor, Rob. At that point, I really think that Rob was taked off guard. He returned my call and I started drilling him with questions about Scott and the Catholic Church. At that point, I don't think he really understood how serious I was and that was a lack on my part. Rob assured me that we would get back together and chat once that I got back in town and I needed that greatly...I had to have questions answered fast.

Friday, May 2, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT3

So, just to give some perspective in this whole scenario, the time frame that all this happened was approximately March of 2005. That was after September of 2004. September of 2oo4 was the date that our home was severely damaged by the onset of Hurricane Ivan, which you see to the right. Our house is right under the tip of the green arrow. Being that we were on the right side of the storm, we took the brunt of the storm with a 20 ft. oak tree on the back of our house. Due to this, the entire back half of our house had to be remodeled, which included the Kitchen, dining area and the den area. So, not only did we have a 2 year old, we were living in half of our house with a microwave, heatplate and a minifridge in the laundry room. Now to pile on top of everything else, I was wrestling with a conversion to the Catholic Faith. So my eyes were glued to the news and the funeral for the Holy Father. I remember that one night I was flipping through the channels and I came across EWTN's coverage of the events and I was rivetted. ( for those of you who don't know, EWTN is the "Global Catholic Television Network") The only problem that I noticed quite quickly was that this was a "preview channel" that the cable company used to preview other channels that were available to subscribers. HOW COULD THEY TEASE ME LIKE THIS???? I didn't have the very station that I felt like I needed! Oh well....life will go on. I remember going out and purchasing any type of magazine and book that I could find on Pope John Paul's life and history because I really felt a sense of regret. I had come to a point that I finally was recognizing the importance that he had played in the world stange, and now he was gone. Some part of me felt like this was a sick cosmic joke because I knew that there is no way that I could go back and pick up the pieces. It was, however very evident to me that through the death of the Holy Father, he probably had more impact on my life that he could have other wise, he got my attention. I realized that what was going on now was something that
had been going on for centuries. The torch would now be passed. But honestly, I didn't know what that meant. At this point in my search, I was not aware or informed of "Apostolic Succession", all I knew was that there would be a new Pope in the near future. The one thing that stuck with me, and probably always will was something that I saw during the funeral. I believe that it was during the procession to St. Peter's basilica that the body was being carried. During that time the people were singing the Litany of the Saints http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3iu9bwEfl4 and I really had no idea what they were singing/chanting because it was all in Latin....and it haunted me for days. I finally found it on line and this is what I found: http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/Litanies/saints.htm

It was chilling for me. I really felt like I had just dove into the ocean with no life raft or any boat in sight. But when I read through this litany, I knew one thing that made sense. There was an entire body of believers, just like the writer of Hebrews talks about that we are surrounded by. This body of believers is no longer bound by space or time and we are a part of them and they are a part of us. When we cry, they hurt. When we rejoice, they rejoice with us and they are there with the Father interceeding for us. At this point I was beginning to delve into something that I had heard in the Presbyterian Church (in limited form) as the "Communion of the Saints". Of course over the next few months this belief would be expounded on and challenged, but I knew that they were there, all of them....Praying for us.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT2



So where do I go from here? I know that I can't go back to the Charismatic church and where I thought I was supposed to be was now validated to me as full of idolatry and sacrilege, from somebody that was of influence in my life and well respected in my community. It was then that I started the search. What denomination did I agree the MOST with. Baptist was out; they were to Pre-Millenial. Episcopal; nope--to liberal for my taste. Methodist; ditto. What was I to do. It was then that I remembered that I had some exposure in my younger days to the Presbyterian Church. In my childhood days when I lived in Jackson, I remember going to Twin Lakes retreat outside of Florence, MS. This was where a day camp was held that was run by First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Jackson. At that point I started my research. What I had found out is that there were two major Presbyterian denominations....there are many more, but I focused on the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church, USA) and the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America). I found out that the PCA was much more conservative in their beliefs and from what I knew much more orthodox in their teachings. I also knew that they had a Catechism. This was a very good thing, as this is what I was looking for in order for the children to have a solid understanding of their faith.




It was about this time that I came across a friend that I had known from working with the youth at Liberty. A gentleman by the name of Brent was a youth pastor from another Charismatic church and he and I had youth events together. I had heard through the grapevine that he was at a Presbyterian Church, so he and I decided to have breakfast one morning. That was another one that I will remember. That was probably the first time that I had vocalized to somebody outside of my wife my issues that I was dealing with. I just remember feeling so nervous actually saying these things. I felt like I was betraying something or somebody that was my closest friend, yet I knew I was doing the right thing. Amazingly, Brent and I were dealing with many of the same issues in regard to our background. He had already made a transition to the Presbyterian Church and he was so excited. He told me that we needed to visit. So....off we went to McIwain Presbyterian Church. It was awesome. I finally felt at home.....sort of. It did take some getting used to. It was much more reserved, but that is what I was looking for. Hymns.Reflection. It was about this time that I finally had a revelation. One that I hadn't had before. If you were to ask the majority of people why they go to church or why they go to a specific church, they probably will answer with one of the following: we like the music, we are getting fed, they have a good children's program, we like the pastor, they have a good women's ministry, the service doesn't last forever, they have a good Singles ministry, I feel accepted....the list could go on....and on....and on. What I realized though was that church was not for US. What I mean is that the reason that we go to church is not to go to some Spiritual pep-rally, or to come out feeling good, or to be entertained. If this is the reason you are going to church, (God bless you for being there), it is the wrong reason. We are going to church to lay ourselves at the feet of an Almighty God who is ever deserving of our worship and devotion. That was it! That was the missing key that I had been searching after for years. It was not about how much I got out of it, but how much God got out of me and how much I became part of Him.



It was during our "orientation" at McIlwain that I learned about parts of Theology that I had not entered into before. I started hearing terms like "Total Depravity of Man", "Sola Scriptura", "Sola Fide" and "Sola Gracia"......oh yeah.....the biggie was "Predestination". For those of you who are familiar with Reformed Theology, you will understand the imagery on the right. T.U.L.I.P. That is another long story for another blog. There were a few sticking points that I had with the Presbyterian Theology, but in general I was very happy and learned to overlook the little questions that I still had and that I always had. I figured it was going to always be that way. But I wasn't searching any further.
I wanted to get more involved with the church, but due to my job at the time along with other circumstances, it just never did work out. It was a little frustrating, but I just dealt with it. The people at McIlwain were great and Rob, the Sr. Pastor was awesome. Rob was about my age, maybe a little older, and we really hit it off well. We had him and Lisa over a couple times for dinner and really enjoyed them. I can say that it was the closest relationship that I had had with a pastor and his wife. They were real people who weren't on a pedestal somewhere and the best thing is that they were accessible. We didn't have to make an appointment with a secretary who had to contact his secretary. At that point in our lives that was something that we needed. While we were at McIlwain, we adopted Abigail (2003). That was the first time we had a baby baptized. It was quite an emotional time in our lives. We really didn't understand what that meant, but according to the Reformed Theology, it was an external sign; A commitment by us to her as a child, not a Sacrament that actually conferred grace.

About a year and a half later in March of 2005, was when we got a phone call to make a trip down to West Palm Beach to get Isabella. I was very excited about our daughter and I had never been to South Florida, so what I figured out that I could do while I was down there was to visit Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. I had watched Dr. Kennedy for years and really admired him and his message. I remember driving down to West Palm Beach with Laura, Alli (my sister in law) and Abigail. After almost 12 hours in the car, we dropped at the hotel, then I drove from West Palm to Ft. Lauderdale to the church. I remember thinking how awesome it was to be able to hear Dr. Kennedy speak in person, as a matter of fact, I was able to chat with him for a few moments after the service. He was a kind and loving man. I explained why I was down in West Palm Beach and he was very understanding to our position as he and his wife had also adopted children in their family.


As a side note, no matter what Theological differences the Reformed Church and the Catholic church has, Dr. D. James Kennedy and his ministry truly stood by the children and the Unborn. May God bless them.


It was shortly after this trip back that things began to go haywire. For those of you that know me, I am a NEWS HOUND...do you hear me? I continually keep up with the day's events and like to know what is going on. It was on March 31, 2oo5 that my head snapped around. I remember I was at work at BMW and there was a news flash that Pope John Paul II had been admitted to the Gemelli Hospital with high fever and a low blood pressure. I really didn't pay that much attention to the Pope during my life, but now I was. All I knew is that he was a fixture in our world. I had heard a lot of things about Catholics and the like, but I never really payed any of them any attention....I had no need to. But this was different. It was interesting........it was sad. To me at that point, it was just another sign that our world was changing. I had followed the death of former President Ronald Reagan, and Nixon, but this was something different. It was different because I knew this man was important to Faith. Little did I know , soon it would be my faith. Then, on April 2nd, 2005,

it finally happened. This great man left us. For the first time in my life that I can remember I started paying attention to details of the Catholic Church. All eyes were pointed to Rome, and rightfully so. My head started spinning with everything that was going on. I wanted to know why things were done. What does all this mean? I was starting to wade into the Tiber.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?)





Now that things have settled down in the Richard's house, I can finally have a few moments to get back to some serious blogging. I had an awesome experience last week of having lunch with an old (emphasis was mine---sorry Jacob) college acquaintance who I probably haven't seen in at least 15 years. After we caught up with marriage and kids and the family stuff, the question came: " So how does one go from 'We bring the sacrifice of praise' to 'Ave Maria'?" You have no idea how many of people from my past ask me that question. And to be honest, I never tire of answering it.




A couple of blogs ago, I really put into metaphor what my conversion was like. It truly was a love story that blossomed between me and the Church that our Lord established. But exactly how did it happen? What caused me to "flip" or "cross the Tiber"? I have gotten all sorts of answers from what other people think. Some believe that I have been possessed by a "religious spirit". Others think that I have psychological imbalances. I have even been told that I have fallen for the pomp and circumstance. Lastly, I have been told that I converted just to "be different...to stand out". I mean, after all, there is no good reason that a "free Charismatic" would give up his freedom to return to the "slavery of Rome." And now that I look back on it, I can understand why any good protestant would ask. After all....how can you explain Tradition, Confession and penance, the Eucharist, Mary, Purgatory, Saints, Priestly celibacy? Aren't these all unnecessary, cumbersome inventions of the Catholic Church to keep people in line. That is what I was told. Control mechanisms to keep people in line and intimidate them into "submission".


For us, it happened a bit differently. Sometime in 2002 there was an unrest in our hearts with our spiritual journey and where we were at the time. Just as a background, Laura and I had been raised in a Charismatic Non-Denominational background for our entire lives....nothing else, so everything else to us was foreign. We were used to the entire Charismatic experience and all that goes along with it. As a matter of fact, Laura and I met each other at Liberty Bible College in Pensacola, Fl., and we were very happy. After moving to Jackson, MS for a few years, Laura and I returned to Pensacola and began attending Liberty Church again until 2oo2. We had been very active there in the Church, working with the youth, worship team, prayer teams the whole nine yards. At that point, Laura and I knew that we had to make a change. We talked about it and we both agreed that our time in the Charismatic movement was over. There were many concerns that we had with the direction that the Charismatic overall was headed, not necessarily with Liberty itself. The Charismatic gifts that I had been brought up with were not satisfying this longing I had to truly know Christ and move closer to him. How do I go about this? Worship to us began to be more of a performance trying to engage the congregation emotionally and I was tired of pretending. I didn't want emotionalism, I WANTED TO KNOW JESUS! Who He was, where He was, what He wanted me to believe, who He wanted me to be. I began to question and search everything that I had ever been taught. Why do we believe that the Bible is the Sole Authority of our Faith? And if this is the case, which of the 10,ooo+ denominations is correct in their interpretation? How did I know that what any pastor was teaching was absolutely correct? Is there anyway to know that? I was told that Scripture was the guideline. The only way this can be true, however is if you have a correct interpretation of Scripture. How can we have that verification that our "yardstick" is the correct interpretation? By the Holy Spirit that is within us? If that is the case, then which of the 1o,ooo+ denominations have the correct interpretation? (I will address these questions individually in separate blogs.) This was my dilemma, and it was no small potatoes. At this point I decided that it would be best for us to make a move to a denominational Church......but which one? It was at this time that a buddy at work who knew that I was searching for a new church asked me if I would be offended if he brought me some reading materials. The reader that I am, I gladly accepted his offer. The next day, I found on my desk a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
along with a subscription to This Rock Magazine, a Catholic Apologetics Magazine. I readily devoured this material and honestly at that point, even though I could not put my finger on it, I knew that there was some truth in what was was being taught. It was at this point that I had my introduction to the writings of the Church Fathers. Wait, Church Fathers, what are you talking about? I am talking about the early writings from the disciples of the first apostles, the ones that actually established the Church after Christ left us. People like St. Clement, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, St. Irenaeus, Origen, St. John of Chrystostom, St. Jerome, St. Cyprian, St. Augustine and Gregory among others. This was a whole new world to me? Why didn't I know about these guys and their writings? I had to find out more. It was at this time that I visited my first Catholic Mass.....all by myself. I sat on the very back row, and had no idea what was going on. I was lost as a goose and now I had even more questions that ever, so I had to have some questions answered.



Unfortunately, I really didn't think before I proceeded further. I had no contacts in the Catholic Church other than my buddy at work and I certainly couldn't tell him that I had questions. That would have been crossing a line that I was not ready to cross yet and and I needed a "neutral" opinion. So where did I go? A former Liberty instructor who was a former Catholic Priest that lived in town. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We met at a local restaurant for breakfast so I could get a good opinion on me moving to the Catholic Church (he didn't know that. I just told him that I needed some questions answered). After that meeting, I was done. I begged forgiveness from our Lord for even considering the Catholic Church. I was made aware that Catholic Church was full of Sacrilege and idolatry. I was scared to death......I knew I could never, ever become Catholic. I was convinced and sold................for then.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS!!!!!!

So, Here is my new blog. If any of you have met Laura and me and our girls. We automatically stand out in a crowd. If you were going to have met us in 2oo2, you would have just have seen Laura and myself. My, my, my have things changed. I wanted to dedicate this blog to the history and story of our wonderful girls.













Abigail




My Abigail......


We began our adoption process after the loss of several miscarriages and we decided that it was more important for us to be parents than it was to actually go through the process of giving birth. We met Abigails mother through Children's Home Society in Pensacola. The first time that you actually go through the adoption process, you realize what an amazing gift that you have been given in your children. There is a woman or a couple who has come to a very sobering reality that they (for whatever reason) are incapable of giving to this child the home that they deserve. Rather than terminating the pregnancy, they have decided to give that child life and now that child is with you. They have your name, your life and your heritage. It is an awesome responsibility. Abigail was born in the spring of 2003 and believe me she hit the ground running. She came home with us when she was 4 days old. The most favorite thing that she says now is: "Daddy, can you hold me?" I know that it won't last forever, so I try to savor every moment that I have.














Isabella


This, I think, is one of my favorite pictures of Isabella. There are others, but this just shows the tenderness of her heart. The story behind Isabella is quite a surprise....to us all. This story started one November day in 2004 when Laura got a call from our good friends at CHS. There was a mother who was needing a home for her girl that was not born as of yet. She was in West Palm Beach, Florida and there were problems with finding couple interested, being that the area is full of septugenarians who have been long done with their child rearing days. So, since Children's Home Society is a state wide agency, they put out what was essentially an All Points Bulletin for all locations in Florida to send in profiles. Hence the call to us. We were informed that this was a long shot, but we were the family that they wanted to send in. OK.....we will do it and were open. Prepped with what they told us, we weren't expecting anything, really. Honestly, I had forgotten about it. Actually Laura was in the process of trying to retrieve our profile back one day in March when The Call came. I remember it very distinctly, even though I was at work. Laura called me and told me that the case worker had called and needed to come by to "update some paperwork". All innocent enough, right? When she got there, we were informed that we had been chosen by the birth mother. When Laura called me, my first question was: "What birth mother? I didn't know that we were shopping?" It was then that I remembered what she was referring to. Within 2 days we were off to West Palm Beach with Abigail and my sister-in-law in tow. That was one of the longest trips that I had made in my life. What made it longer was the fact that we knew that Isabella had been in foster care for almost 5 weeks....with Catholic foster parents (coincidence....I think not. )


In addition to getting a new daughter, I had an awesome experience of being able to attend Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. At that point the church was pastored by D.James Kennedy, who since that time has passed away. I remember meeting him after the service and explaining why we were down there. He had adopted children himself and was very supportive.


This was a total new experience....an African American child. I love her so much. She is a total ball of energy who can't sit still for any time at all, but when she does, she is a cuddle bunny.....beautiful girl.




Laura Sophia
Talk about surprizing.....This is a story. So.......One night Laura and I were out at dinner and we were talking about our family and she tells me that she feels that we are done. How, after all with a 3 yr old and a 1 1/2 year old could we handle any more? And I tended to agree with her. On that point, we weren't shopping or even putting any feelers out.
Then one morning Laura was going to take me to work and she was waiting for me in the car. I was on my way out to the car and the phone rang......it was CHS. In my mind, I remember thinking, "I don't owe you any money.....I am not shopping.....why are you calling?" The voice on the other end stated that Isabellas mother had just given birth to another daughter and that she was very interested in placing her with Isabella so the family could be together. Of course my mind referred back to the conversation two weeks ago. So what did I say? "I don't think so, but I will talk with Laura." BAD, BAD, BAD MOVE!!! Guys, don't EVER try this one. I go out to the car and I am laughing to myself and I told Laura: "Guess what? The funniest thing just happened. CHS called and said that Isabellas mother just had another baby and they want us to take her." What followed for the two days after that is almost a blur in my mind.
"WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM???" Laura asked.
"I told them probably not, I thought we were done," I told her. This was not a good day in my life and I will never, never live it down.....EVER, EVER!!!! Do you understand what I am saying??? After two days of tears and back and forth, we knew that we needed Laura Sophia. Back we went to West Palm Beach. It was just Laura and I, so we could have really used a vacation down there, but nope. A quick nights rest and we were back on the way with our #3 girl....our little angel.
More to come????? We will see.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mourning...........

I had grand plans for this blog, deliberating between the history of my family and our adoptions, reviewing the past week's visit of the Holy Father to the states, or expounding on a couple of last week's Mass readings, in particular John 6. However, after the events of this weekend I do need to take a couple of minutes to reflect.

When Laura and I got married in Sept. '91, one of the first things that we did in Jan '92 was to purchase a beautiful little apricot poodle puppy....we named her Sassie. When we moved to Pensacola she was only 3 years old and full of life.

Unfortunately, we had the duty and responsibility this weekend to choose the difficult option of putting her to final rest. This was the second time that we have had to choose that option and I can tell you that it doesn't get any easier.

Pets are an integral part of our lives and they always remind us of our mortality and reminds us of the "circle of life" so to speak. I would do the whole thing over again. Sassie brought so much joy and pleasure to our lives, especially before we had children. Even after we had Abby and the other girls, she was very patient and understanding with them and they will miss her.

Thanks be to our Lord for giving her to us for those years and also giving us the ability to make the appropriate choice at the best time for her.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rats,surgeries and allergies...all in ONE week.

Whenever you have kids, you have stories, and this past month has been the motherload of all stories.

It all started about 3 weeks ago when my wife was feeding our youngest, Laura Sophia dinner. We have all had those nights when you are tired, you have had a long day and you just want to feed your kids and get them down........QUICKLY!!! So this night, Laura decided to give Laura Sophia her first scrambled egg. This was about 5:30 P.M. and all went well until about 1o:30 PM when we heard her crying. I went in there and brought her in the room with Laura and myself. We noticed very quickly that she was swollen up, clawing at her ears, and also that she was breaking out in hives. This was not good. In the moment that it took us to call the doctor, it seemed like she was gasping for air. It was at that point that we made the rush decision to run with her to the ER. We got there probably around 11:30 and by the time that we left it was close to 2:AM. Luckily, it was nothing that a little Benadryl couldn't handle and we know now that she will not be enjoying dads lovely Colorado omlettes.

It wasn't long after that, probably a couple of weeks that we were preparing for Laura's surgery. Nothing major, but it was the typical outpatient removal of a Ganglion cyst on her right wrist. We had been planning this for a while so it was no big deal, right........WRONG, and you couldn't be more wronger. Here is how the whole deal went down.

Laura and I have a lovely older home in East Pensacola Heights, close to the bay. By older, I mean that the house was built in 1941. We love it and have tended to it (especially after Ivan...) and made upgrades and changes that help it. Well, as with any home, you can tend to have some....let's say issues from time to time. This issue was for the past couple of weeks we had heard some "movement" inside our walls. Scratching to be specific. I was very concerned due to the fact that me and rodents don't get along that well. So I did what any normal homeowner would do. I searched along every baseboard and wall that I could get to and looked for any sort of entry point....this was fruitless. I put Glueboards in the attic. Nothing. Until the morning of Laura's surgery.

It was about 6AM and then I heard it...scratching. Only this time it didn't sound like it was in the wall any further...it sounded like it was in the house, scratching on the floor, even squeaking. I went to the bathroom....nothing. Hallway.....nothing. Then for some reason I turned around and I saw it stuck between the wood floor and the doorpost...a RAT. Not a mouse, a RAT....bigger than all get out. it's back legs were scratching trying to get out and it's tail was flopping back and forth like a metronome. I had never had to deal with this scenario before and I had no idea what to do. I couldn't pull him out or he would bite the ever loving #$&% out of me. I only had to think quick..which is not easy to do at 6 AM. I could chop him off...nope, too messy. What to do?? Luckily Laura's mom and dad live very close (this is one time when I was able to appreciate that) so I decided to call Laura's Dad. Then as soon as I dialed he got loose. The streak of grey lightning flashed through the hallway into the living room. All I heard from there was Laura telling me to get a holt of myself, I was going to wake the girls up. I can do this, I am a man....he is a mouse. NO...HE IS NOT A MOUSE!!! HE IS A RAT!!!!!! And I am supposed to have my mother-in-law here in just a few hours to keep my daughters whilst he is loose in the house. So, once I got Lauras dad on the phone, he came over and locked himself with me and the rat in the laundry room. Once we had spread the nets to make sure that there were no exit points we started moving shelves. I had a cane in my right hand as I was sure that I was going to wallop that sucker if he came anywhere near me....(yeah, right). It was at that time I heard Laura's dad say: "He's coming your way!" You should have seen me. At that point, time stood still. With a left hand on a cabinet and my right hand on that cane I suddenly suspended myself in mid air calling out to Jesus, Joseph, Mary and anybody else that would listen. As I was looking down that animal was running in circles below my feet. I will admit it, I was screaming like a girl. It was two seconds later that I heard it. That thing ran across one of the glue boards that we had set out. I have never heard anything more blood-curdling noise in my entire life. That thing was squealing like a stuck pig. But he was done. While I was outside gathering my composure, my father-in-law took another board and sort of "sandwiched" him with another board. He was still squealing. I had no idea what to do after that, so I just simply told him to put it in the trash container.....Luckily it was trash day.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Disclaimer on this blog--and an admission of love for another woman

I must confess that that this blog may not be interesting to very many people, therefore I must put a disclaimer on it. I will write about many things: my wife Laura, my girls, how we came to be as a family, and some of my life experiences over the past 2o years. In addition to that, one of the things that I will probably write much about, in a serious note is my new found love that I have for my faith and how I got to this point. So....this may reflect a lot of Theology and reflection from a Catholic point of view. This, however is a great way for me to pen my thoughts and keep track of where I am.







Like I said in my last post, it was in 1991 when I met the Love of my life, Laura. We met while we were both in College at Liberty. Our meeting was sort of by chance and not really planned. The details of the meeting will vary on whether you are talking to me or Laura, but....since this is my blog...this will be the way that it happened :-)







Through a series of events, in 1990, neither Laura or I had a date to the Spring banquet at Liberty and through a suggestion of a mutual friend, I got up the nerve to chase her across campus (she knew what was going on) and ask her to the banquet. It was very soon after that we had our first date and I still remember it was amazing. We were both bout as nervous as a couple of long tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs, but it wound up being an amazing evening of talking and connecting. I remember that we went to the Boardwalk on Pensacola Beach and sat there and talked for hours...about our lives where we grew up (which by the way was about an hour and a half from each other). We were actually at many of the same events while we were growing up, which is really strange to look back upon. The months that followed were amazing I couldn't wait to see her again and spend another block of hours between classes talking on those swings. There was a very deep love developing....very quickly. I wanted to find out everything about her. We were then married in September of 1991 to begin our new life together and start again. Going on seventeen years later we are still going strong. Believe you me, we have had our challenges, but we are here; together and commited to our marriage and our ever growing family.







Oh yeah.....the other woman. It started about five or six years ago I guess. There was this woman that I had an acquaintance with from a couple of years prior. I had found out a little about her and there was this strange attraction, something that I could not explain. I tried as much as possible to try to find out everything about her. It was very strange, so for a while I denied myself the urges that I had and decided that it would be best for myself and my family if I had no contact with her--ever. I knew that if I got involved with her that it could have a devastating effect on my family, so that is what I did............for a while.







What happened next is baffling to me. One day I was at work and I saw her on the television and she was starting to get a lot of attention. Though I had not thought about her for about 2 years or so, my head spun around again, I could tell something was changing about her. Maybe it was her face, but something was changing and I was compelled once again to get in contact with her. At the same time I was so sad. Why did I take so long to do this. I would never know her as I had previously wanted to know her............I knew that it would always be different. Not bad, just different from how I had come to know her. So I very cautiously pulled back out all my previous contact with her. It was a review of sorts, but reading what she had written and what I found out about her grabbed me once again. I had not felt like this since I had fallen in love with Laura-- it seemed that it was happening all over again. I was terribly frightened to contact her directly and in person due to the fact that I knew what tidal wave it would cause in my life, so I decided to contact other people who were very much aware of her and who she was. I just needed to find out if She was the one for me, so for months on end I found those people with their information. The point that sealed our fate together happened on a Saturday morning. That morning, I had to be at work, so I left earlier than normal, probably by an hour. I told Laura that I had to meet a "friend" before I went to work, when in all actuality it was the other woman. We were only to be together for about half an hour or so, that is all I could take. My head was spinning, but I really knew at that point She and I would have to move forward...regardless. The amazing thing is that she knew me, who I was and had been waiting for me and I felt it by the light embrace that I felt that day. I had never done anything like this before in my life. It was like I was walking on a line....a border that I had crossed and I had said that I never would, yet at the same time, I didn't feel the slightest amount of guilt. After that one meeting I was addicted to our affair. How would I keep this a secret from my family: my wife, her parents, my brother , my parents. How would they react. They knew of this woman because she had all of our paths at sometime in our lives and it was inevitable that I would have to tell them, but it was going to have to wait.



The next months would become the point that would change my life. The woman kept calling me. It was if she was connected to the innermost parts of my being. I spent many sleepless nights watching her metamorphasis that was going on because as a matter of fact the change that I had feared did take place. Now I saw her in a new way. I knew that even though I didn't know her as she was before, I would know her in a new way; a strange new way. I remember one time, Laura had gone to visit my sister in Birmingham with the girls. It was just me in the house. It was freedom for me any my new love. That week I was totally engulfed in her, wanting all my waking moments to be surrounded by her.

The most amazing thing is that the more that I got to know her, the more that she kept pointing me not toward herself, the Church, but toward her Son, our Lord Jesus. All my life I had a relationship with our Lord, but that night it was different---deeper than it ever had been in my life. I knew that Jesus was there present with me....The Real Presence as I had never known it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt I knew that this was the Church that our Lord had established. This had been proven to me over and over and over the next few months.

I had come Home.


One year later it became formal. On Easter, 2oo6, I came into full communion with the Catholic Church.





More to come............

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

20 years ago......

As I have just become active in the past week or so with FaceBook, I look back over all the faces that I have not seen for almost 20 years. Can you believe it. I was just thinking about where I was 20 years ago. At this point I was about ready to graduate from High School in Midfield, AL, and I knew what I was going to do...no doubt in my mind. I was heading off to Pensacola, Fl. to Liberty Bible College. That was what I had decided many, many years earlier and that point was finally here. So....here I was, 18 and full of dreams...off to change the world. So I headed out to Jackson, MS to meet up with my bud, Paul. Most of you will remember him. I could tell you some stories about that trip, but I met him there, visited my family and headed south in my 1977 dark green AMC Gremlin. Some of you will remember that as well, it was the one that was highly stickered with all the Pro-Life bumper stickers all over the back.

I was full of vim and vigor and was ready to change the world, as we all were and I loved every bit of it, even my first roommate...btw...anybody heard from Forakis? I spent the next three years there studying, discerning, working, working.......working. I did have awesome opportunites including a trip to Mexico....(beware Liberty guys...I will be posting those pix soon for the entire universe to see.) But most of all I met my wife, Laura. It is hard to believe that we will have been married 17 years in September, how time flies.

20 years ago.........

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My First Blog

For those of you who may or may not know me, here it goes...My first Blog. What will be on it who knows. Why am I doing this....Who knows, but it seems like a good way to get acquainted with those who I have lost contact with in the past, or (for what ever reason someone would want to) those who want to get reaquainted with me and my wonderful, ever expanding family.

So.....If you see this, leave a comment or a question. Who knows what will appear next....