Monday, March 26, 2012

An Evangelical on the Canterbury Trail, who crossed the Tiber instead

     Where to begin.  Well, I guess you have to start at the beginning.  I was baptized in the Lutheran Church when I was born, however I do not have many memories of attending Zion Lutheran Church in San Francisco.  When I was older, I remember going to chapel services in Germany (where my Dad was stationed) and my Mom felt that she was called to the charismatic/pentecostal church.  From there, we moved to Ft. Polk and attended a church there, and then on to Virginia, where I attended Christ Chapel in Woodbridge.  It was at this time that my faith was built, and I began to build what I perceived as a firm foundation on which to believe.  This continued through my time at both West Virginia University (which, I must admit, I was not good at), and then on to Southeastern Bible College in Lakeland, Florida.  While there, I started having some question about what they stated their fundamental truths.  It was not that I did not think they were correct; rather, it was holding them up against the Scriptures that the denomination stated as its foundation.  What I began to discover was that for all it had built, it was built by man.  That was a blow to my faith that took many years to overcome.
     So, lets fast forward to 2006.  I met an Episcopal Chaplain while in Iraq, who invited me to read a book titled "An Evangelical on the Canterbury Trail".  This book really spoke to me, as I had always tended toward a more liturgical worship style.  Even then, however, I had a difficult time finding a church that I was comfortable in.  And so it continued.  I eventually made it to Fort Stewart, Georgia, and found a wonderful congregation that both my wife and I felt was right.  We became members, attended services, helped teach, and really saw this as where God wanted us to be.  Still, I was searching.  I just did not know why, or what.  It had become so hard that my wife said to me, "Nick, you will never find a denomination that you agree with 100%".  Little did I know just how prophetic that statement would be.
     While visiting friends in Florida, they invited us to Mass.  Catherine and I accepted, as we wanted to be friendly, after all.  And it was there, at a Traditional Latin Mass, that I was called to the Church.  In the silence and reverence of the Mass, God found me.  As I prayed, with tears in my eyes, I knew that I had indeed come home.  As we left, I asked my daughters what they thought.  As if I needed any reassurance, my oldest said, "Dad, I have just been with God."  From there, my wife and I tried to straddle the fence, attending Mass on Saturday evening, and then our Protestant service on Sundays.  Yeah, that didn't work.  As I spoke to the pastor, I explained that I had to follow where God was calling me.  I expected that he would be disappointed, yet I was very surprised to hear that he was more happy that I was following God.  That man is still a dear friend to me to this day, although I am sure there are many who would doubt that.
     And so now, here I am.  In two weeks I will have my first Holy Eucharist, and be welcomed into full communion with the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.  It has only taken me 37 years to listen to God's voice.  And yet, He has never forsaken me, even when I was far from Him.  In fact, I have found myself passionate for God, and the Grace He has given so freely to me because of the Sacrifice of Christ. 
     Through all of this, I have lost some friends, and gained some new ones.  Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned is that through this journey, I know my faith, and am not afraid to defend it anymore.  Moral relativism and objectiveism have no place in the Truth.  When we try to place temporal restraints on the Eternal God, we lessen the Truth and dilute the Sacrifice of Christ.  This, for me, has been the greatest journey that I could ever be called to undertake.  And because of this, I am now where I need to be.  Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.

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