So you’ve converted…now what?

The comment boxes on Mark Shea’s blog have gotten awful heated lately, and I’ve been staying away from them in general, but Mark pointed out a very good discussion in this post that’s a must read.

Many converts to Catholicism from Evangelicalism run into the problem of the disparity between the warmth and activity of most Evangelical churches and the perceived (often wrongly) coldness and lack of things going on at many Catholic parishes. I’d go far as to say that this difference in atmosphere drives away a lot of potential converts, those for whom the intellectual claims of the Church are not as central as they are to me. I know I had the same problem, running off to lunch and other gatherings with my Baptist friends for months after making the jump over the Tiber. But, gradually, I’ve come to realize that, at least at my parish, the problem is not a lack of community, but a different sort of community than at your average Southern Baptist church. Singing in the choir and volunteering for RCIA have helped, but most of all, I’ve made some very close friends who share my commitment to orthodoxy in an often liberal environment. Culture shock is something that everyone experiences to some degree, even though you might think you’ll be immune.


3 Responses to “So you’ve converted…now what?”

  1. 1 Chad November 16, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve read some of the stuff there in the last couple days on this subject. Though maybe it’s just cause I’m a new convert and I can’t really relate to their feelings…

    I want to ask:

    So I assume that you’re already volunteering at least once at week at the homeless shelter?

    I assume that you’re already volunteering for at least one regular parish activity or ministry?

    My parish is full of large, conservative home-schoolin’ families and it basically have nothing except choir to get involved in. No CCD. No RCIA. etc.

    But I’ve scratched the surface and found plenty of non-advertised activities there. I’m in the choir. I go with a couple guys to Morning Prayer and Mass at a convent, with Breakfast on Wednesdays. 2 Families have monthly Rosaries at their houses. I organize Beer and Theology nights for some local guys my age once a month or so. I play electric geetar for another parish’s teen adoration nights.

    My dad’s an evangelical pastor, and look: he doesn’t like people whining about what “the church” isn’t providing for them either.

    PS. Thank God my parish doesn’t have greeters. This is a horrible idea. No Wal*Mass, please.

  2. 2 Edmund C. November 16, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Hey Chad,

    I think you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head: maybe I didn’t make it clear enough in my initial post, but I think getting involved takes effort on our parts. We’re used to the Evangelical style of pushing every activity under the sun in your face, but the opportunities for involvement are there at our parishes.

    I should be going over to the homeless shelter… 😉

    And thank God my parish doesn’t have greeters, either…

  3. 3 Chad November 16, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    I’m so lazy I turned my comment here into a post on my blog.

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