Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Reformation - 500

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here!

Guys.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m a convert that tends to be fiercely protective of the truth that I searched so hard for, or because I’m a theology student - which means a lot of studying doctrine and history, or because I’m just somewhat baffled by the happenings of the anniversary of the Reformation in general, but my social media feed this week has been a bit tumultuous.
The main thing that has jumped out at me is the many “Joint Reformation Celebration Parties” between Lutherans and Catholics.  A little digging into this topic will show you that the intent of these parties (at least originally) was to celebrate the things that we have in common and the progress we have made in ecuminism.  A cursory look at the details of some of these celebrations will tell you that they are not all holding true to that intent, and a quick crowdsource on Twitter will tell you that people have widely varying feelings about it.  
I am all for steps toward Ecuminism, and moving toward the unity asked for by Christ, I just wonder if this is truly what this is imparting.  Is there a more appropriate day that we could get together and celebrate our wins in this area? I understand the concept of turning the celebration of the Reformation into something better than what it has been in the past; of making it a day of celebrating our strides toward unity instead of a celebration of a Schism.  But I think we need to carefully consider not only the message that we’re trying to send, but also how it’s being received.
I grew up Protestant - I’ve been to Reformation Day celebrations.  The celebrations I remember were all about being thankful for the ‘religious freedom’ that resulted in ‘breaking free from the Roman Church.’  And to be fair, I’m sure that this experience has left me a little jaded when I think of what a joint celebration would be like.  
But when people see titles like “Joint Reformation Celebration” followed by very little detail, such as “Come pray and fellowship with us!” or “Ecumenical prayer service to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation!’ they aren’t hearing the true intent behind these gatherings. It isn’t clear that it should be a celebration of our common beliefs instead of a celebration of division.  This can leave some Catholics confused, unsure, and yes - angry.
I don’t know what the correct answer is to this - I will leave that to people holier and smarter than I.  I do think however, that we as Catholics have to always be clear about what we believe, and be able to not only articulate that to others, but be able to hold fast to those beliefs in any circumstance.  
So what does a hipster Catholic do in these situations?  This photo that Tommy posted on Twitter yesterday gives us a real life look at what some are doing:


Do I know that these Catholics are hipsters? Not for certain, but anyone that gets removed from a Catholic Church for praying the Rosary must be a hipster at heart.
I’m not recommending that we all run out and get arrested for disturbing the peace with our rosaries (unless that’s your thing - in which case who am I to stop you?)  - I’m simply saying that we should continue to live our faith out loud, continue to learn why we believe what we believe, pray, defend the truth, and keep working toward growing Jesus’ Church.  It’s what we’re called to do after all.

Also - if you attended a joint event - please comment!  I would love to hear your perspective.  

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