It stared as a lark. While taking a course in medical anthropology, I learned about cross-cultural analysis. I decided to compare Protestantism to Catholicism.
My background is Evangelical/Pentecostal. The experience was mainly positive but several elements lead to leaving the fold. My devotional life, consisting of quiet times and bible reading, hit a prolonged dry patch. What had given my spiritual life structure and meaning, became increasingly burdensome. The cognitive demand to think the right things and to “find my identity in Christ” became too much to bear. I could no longer muster the energy to enter into the affective state that prolonged praise choruses demand.
Like most Protestants, I knew little about church history other than that the church had been waylaid in corruption and darkness until the Reformers set things right. I decided to remedy my ignorance by reading books. In addition to reading history, the spiritual, aesthetic and philosophical elements of Catholicism—the way of being—that I absorbed through reading, music, art and architecture altered me. I learned about the Communion of Saints and I began to sense a divine order to things. I now understood that I was part of the Great Chain of Being. I began to think symbolically and analogically.
I entered the Catholic church on April 14, 2014.
My conversion was a bust as the Catholic church is unrecognizable from what is was even 50 years ago. I should have let Catholics tell me who they are instead of reading a lot of books. Of course if I had listened I would have had no interest in joining them.
I left the Catholic church on November 4, 2015.
I want to get back to Protestantism but I can’t shake the conviction that spirit inhabits matter. And I prefer the mediated, performative faith tradition of liturgical churches. So I exist in an interstitial space between the two. It’s a lonely but intellectually dynamic place.
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