Easter and Conversion

I hope you has a wonderful Easter. This weekend I celebrated with a long time friend of mine who was officially received into the Catholic Church. Like myself he was raised Baptist and generally moves in Protestant circles, though recently we have formed relationships with some like-minded Catholics.

The schisms between Christian churches has long fascinated me, especially as I see many of my generation get tired of dogmatic and doctrinal arguments that get away from the central message and purpose of the church. The friends I see most often don’t pay a lot of attention to these divisions. Perhaps there are changing attitudes among my generation. We were raised on stereotypes and generalizations about competing denominations or sects, but when you take the time to enter into friendship and community with people of other churches we’ve discovered how blinded we were by our pride.

GK Chesterton famously “converted” (an imprecise term) from the Anglican Church and was received into the Catholic Church in 1922. He wrote a book about it, as well as this poem that he came up with after receiving his first Communion.

THE CONVERT

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

–G. K. Chesterton–

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