Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Friends in the Faith

This summer has practically blown away so quickly! First, with my organizing and decluttering projects around the house {and yes, I realize I owe an update on my garage status} and now we are trying to find friends to meet up with and have a little fun. Last Friday, I put together a "playdate" {am I the only one who does *not* like that word??} for three families. If you had happened upon us, you would have thought the kids swallowed some adults, lol. The ratio was almost 5:1, kids to adults.

My friend, Jen, is someone who I have recently met through my friend, Christine.

Let me back track for a moment bring it into perspective.

I have been studying Catholicism and specifically apologetics for almost eight years now. ::Quick explanation - apologetics is the study of Catholicism, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition with respect to other faiths - being able to clarify misconceptions of Catholicism - and trust me, there are some whoppers floating around out there, like we worship statues and Mary, and believe unbaptized babies go to Limbo, etc.:: I meet and discuss issues with a variety of people and most of the time I can discuss misconceptions of the Faith fairly well with our non-Catholic Christian brethren. While I enjoy the spirit of healthy debate, I've found that the people most receptive to understanding Catholicism were those who didn't come to the table wanting the argument, wanting to prove Catholicism wrong, the I'm right, you're wrong mentality.

My mantra in sharing the Faith is this: If you want to disagree with Catholicism, fine. But at the very least, know what exactly it is that you're disagreeing with. Nine out of ten times, in my personal experience, our separated brethren believe something about Catholicism that just simply isn't true. And even more heartbreaking is the fact that lapsed Catholics have left the Church over these misconstrued ideas and taught them to other Christians as facts. I liken it to getting marriage advice from a divorced person. You see the problem? It's not enough to simply know and live the Faith, you must know it well enough to inspire others to learn the Truth about it as well.

I've had the privilege of moderating and discussing fairly heated topics on online boards for a while now and have been able to smooth a few rough edges of my own in the process. However, the one topic I can't seem to make smoothly or bridge that argument is with atheism. Even agnosticism you can find some common thread.

So, I was talking about the importance of Faith foundation with my friend Christine one day and she mentioned this friend of hers who used to be a card carrying atheist who converted to Catholicism and she told me I should meet her. So, I took initiative! It turns out we are very close in age, have the same number of children and probably face a lot of the same struggles raising our families with the Faith at the center when so much of the world would be happy to see us do exactly the opposite. She has a very popular blog among Catholics, Christians and even atheists. She shares her story of conversion which is really interesting. She has been featured on Relevant Radio and she has been published in Catholic publications . She is even working on a book right now. All of this in my own Catholic backyard because she is a parishioner at our church.

So, a couple of months ago I wanted to meet up with her and kind of pick her brain a little about some of the main objections I could not address in my discussions with atheists. It was a really nice visit, so when she said she was hosting a young girl from Columbia for the summer, I thought it would be nice to get the girls together. And my wonderful friend Christine offered up her home for us to meet.

With her six, Jen's five and my four kiddos, you'd have thought it was total chaos, but the kids were all well-behaved, had a lot of fun and even let us gals chat it up a bit too!

So, here are a few pictures of us from the day - incidentally, my friend Christine, homeschools her children, taught for ten years, and has drawn on that knowledge and experience to make it a success in her home. What most of us might use as a playroom upstairs, she has turned into a small classroom, equipped with several desks, two computers, bookcases filled with school supplies, books, and whatever else is needed for the curriculum. Gone are the days that homeschooling is this antiquated, no room for socializing, creates maladjusted children, insert whatever objection you've ever heard over the years, etc. There are so many resources available out there, and of all the families I have gotten to know over the years who homeschool, it would seem that there is something for every family, making it a tailored fit to your particular family vs. most other educational institutions where the children are shaped to fit the mold.

Me, Jen, and Christine
Most of the kiddos!


Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

What a great fun day! And all those gorgeous generation funsters or whatever comes after the millenials. Can't wait to see you all! Love, Mom

Amy said...

I don't like the term "play date" either. I think it's pretty silly.

I had a friend the other day who grew up Catholic, but left the church, say, "When I was an adult I became a Christian." I'm pretty sure she was implying that Catholics aren't Christians. It's been bothering me ever since. What do you say to someone who says that?

Martina said...

MAK: We can't wait to see you all too! I have to start making my list for the trip, asap! :)

Amy: Sometimes it depends on how well you know the person as to how you drive your point home. Try to find common ground so that they don't feel defensive in their POV. Kinda like taking Father Joel's words, 'here's the good news'...you *ARE* Christian, and you always have been and even more, you are still Catholic and always will be. This is why I often refer to ourselves as Catholic Christians. I fought to have that title put on our board on babycenter - we were told by the mods that it was a derogatory term and the more my Catholic sisters & I researched it, the more it became apparent that it has always been an accurate reflection of Catholics.

I wonder if your friend knows that once Catholic, always Catholic. I mean, you have to go through some pretty rigorous steps to actually "unmake" yourself Catholic and most people aren't aware of that process. They simply leave the Church. Let me know if you have any other questions. This is exactly why I am starting my resource blog for Catholics and hope to get it up and running in the next few months. :)