Tuesday, March 10, 2015

While Waiting for Daryl K

This morning I offered my “First Response” to Daryl K, a Reformed Baptist who is antagonistic toward the Catholic Church, which he himself left 25 years ago. I have asked Daryl to comment on my post before the discussion can proceed.

While waiting, I have remembered a recent exchange with a Southern Baptist on the question of faith. That exchange was amusing to me and did not lack for charity on either side. Here’s what happened:

At Memoirs Unlimited, where I help retired people write and publish their memoirs, I had the honor of working with a very elderly Evangelical gentleman, who had made major gifts to an important Protestant college. I will call him Robert and his son, who hired me, Robbie.

When I began working with Robert in 2007, I was a None, as explained in my memoir. Hearing Robert’s life story, I understood how important Christian faith was to him. I credit him with influencing me to some degree.

By the time I delivered Robert’s printed books (always a gratifying moment in my business), I had converted to the Catholic Church. After Robert and Robbie had admired the finished product and Robert signed a copy for me, I said,

“Uh, Mr. _______, I have some news for you.” (I never actually called him Robert.)

“Really.” (He was economical with words.)

“Yes, though I admit it’s sort of good news, bad news.” (I anticipated his response.)

“What is it?”

“I have begun going back to church for the first time in forty years.”

“That’s wonderful!”

“Yes, and that’s the good news. The bad news is, I have converted to the Catholic Church.”

There was a heavy pause. Robert’s face struggled with itself as he looked toward Robbie, they exchanged glances, and Robert turned back to me with something between a grin and a grimace.

“Well,” Robert said finally, shrugging slightly, “at least it’s something.”

I am hoping that Daryl and I can have at least so respectful an exchange.

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