Surrounded 2: Mending the Net
Since becoming Catholic, I’m more aware than ever of the ignorant, prejudicial attitudes that pervade both sides of our divided Church. I’m also aware of real ‘reformation’ differences that should be acknowledged and respected.
That is not my concern here. Sexually lost and broken people are. I am convinced that the unwillingness of both evangelicals and Catholics to first recognize the Jesus who is present in the other fractures and weakens our witness.
Our divides are like cracks in a glass globe that skews the Light of the world; our disdain for each other tears the net that would otherwise bring in a haul of fish.
God will have His way with His Church. I delight in witnessing how in Living Waters evangelicals and Catholics are coming together to heal and to heal others. Our just commenced group at my parish in Kansas City serves mostly Catholics but the team is equal parts evangelical and Catholic.
How wonderful that deep thinking, contemplative Catholics who tend to doubt their own capacity to administer healing to others are welcoming the charismatic candor of evangelicals who from the start of their faith life welcomed the call to heal in the power of the Spirit.
Deeper still is the healing I see between evangelicals and Catholics in Latin America–a much more divided context than in the north due to historic wounding (300 years of Spanish colonization: imposing Catholicism and persecuting Protestants). Two nations we work with in the Southern Cone have forged a strong alliance, even though our Chilean friends are evangelical, the Argentines Catholic. Yet they love and value each other as people with traditions distinct from their own. The evangelicals benefit from the gift of Catholic thinking and symbology, while the Catholics grow from the beautiful healing community we work with in Chile.
That Vineyard Church in Santiago is a model of what every community could be for the sexually broken. With Living Waters rooted deeply in its DNA and core church members its leaders, this Body now has a well-deserved reputation as a safe and holy place for the divided to heal. I encountered more than a few persons from around Latin America who are integrating into that church family in order to grow in their integration of persons. The Vineyard is a place where one is free to struggle in the light of Jesus’ inclusive love and to take ground over time.
I love that place. The Argentine Catholics love it too; they are now working with Vineyard folk in their city to provide a healing community for the sexually broken there.
God wants to save the lost and the least. And He honors the coming together of Catholics and evangelicals who are willing to combine strengths and gifts in order to become an empowered, welcoming home for the broken.
A cracked lamp skews the light, a broken body struggles to heal, a torn net cannot catch fish. A united Church can land a good haul and clean it too.
Many Catholics and evangelicals from around the world will be joining our Becoming Good News prayer effort. Let us build a united house, pleasing to God, on our knees.
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