Salvation: It’s personal

October 17, 2010

We’re looking for a church.
No, not this one. Although we’ve seen it plenty of times. {Yes, it’s St. Peter’s in Rome.}

We’re looking to join a church.

We aren’t garden variety Catholics. We aren’t Protestant, either. So it’s not that easy to find the right fit.

During my early days in Tampa I sang in a church choir, but never really felt I belonged to the parish. {I love singing in choirs. Any church I join has to have a great music ministry.}
Later, I attended church regularly with a girlfriend at the beautiful cathedral in downtown Tampa. It was a stunningly classic church with wonderful traditional music. I attended, but I didn’t really belong to that parish, either.

This time, I want to belong. And in the process, lots of thoughts about the state of religion have come up in discussions with friends. We’ve all had a variety of experiences when it comes to church and religion. Let me lay out a few:

First, there’s nothing more aggravating than someone trying to push their religious beliefs down your throat.

It’s one thing for friends to share, and another to judge or to insist that their way is the only way.

You’d think that Catholics would be in the front guard of the proselytizing ranks. After all, the first Christian church was the Catholic Church.

But, ironically, we aren’t big on proselytizing. At least not domestically.
{I will never wear a button like this. Ok, well, maybe if Jesus came back and pinned it on me himself, I would. But only then.}

It’s fundamentalist Christians who sometimes tend to want to dictate what “saved” means. What a moral code should be. How their friends should behave.

Not all do this. {One of my BFFs is an evangelical, I don’t mean you, sugar.} But some definitely do.

So the other day, I ran across this in a blog. It was written by someone who was troubled about a friend’s salvation. Very troubled. And then, she had a revelation.

My job is not to worry about their salvation, mine was to tend to mine. I heard a voice say “Their salvation is between me and them, don’t worry your heart over it.”

I thought it was a pretty wise message from the Big Man Upstairs. As usual.
{This is my favorite church of all: Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Gorgeous. My favorite in the world.}*

Also, some other thoughts came up in our conversations. Such as:

  • If a bunch of kids accuse a pastor of sexual abuse, they’re telling the truth.
  • If a pastor thinks the rules don’t apply to him or her, you’d best find another church.
  • If a minister drives a luxury car and lives in a mansion, don’t be putting money in that collection basket.

Yes, a lot to think about as we look for a church. A lot.

Wish us luck.

*The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome and one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches. A patriarchal basilica (or major basilica) is a church in which the high altar is reserved only for the use of the Pope or his representative.

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