Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walking Contradiction

Some things just go great together.  Peanut butter and Jelly.  Cookies and Milk.  Coffee and Scones.  Other things don't mix very well.  Oil and Water for instance.  This is a classic example of a contradiction.

There was a time in my life, when I would have considered someone who is in my current state, a Walking Contradiction.  To be African American and Catholic (at the same time) was an absolutely ridiculous concept.  I mean, the two just didn't go together....at all.  Of course, since I have been attending a Catholic Mass for the better part of 9 years now, I have occasionally ran into a Catholic that was Black.  In the same breath, I have always wanted to ask them, "How in the world did you become a Catholic?".  I never did muster up the courage to do so.  And thankfully, I didn't have to...

I heard about Alex Jones many years ago.  Alex Jones, and myself have many things in common.  We are both African American, from Detroit and attended a Pentecostal Church Of God In Christ Church - except he was the pastor.  When I had first heard about this man, who after 25 years of pastoring his church, decided to leave his church and become a Roman Catholic, I just chalked him off to being a nut.  It is one thing for a Lutheran, Episcopalian, or an Anglican to become a Catholic, but it is a completely different story when an African American Pastor leaves his gospel music church to become a Roman Catholic.  Not only that, but also to bring a considerable amount of people from his church into the Catholic Church with him...all of them were nuts.

After a couple of years of chalking him off to being a fruitcake for doing such a thing, I finally decide to watch his testimony that just so happen to be amidst my collection of VHS tapes (thanks to my lovely Catholic wife)....and this is where the story of my conversion began....

Fast forward almost a year, and I find myself a Roman Catholic.  A Walking Contradiction.  I had a chance to speak briefly with Deacon Alex Jones this past weekend.  I shared with him my story, and how his testimony played a role in me being a member of the 2009 Tiber Swim team.  I gave him a huge hug, and thanked him for the courage to share his story.

Do I miss the Gospel music in the church service - of course.  Do I miss all of the hand-clapping and catching the "Holy Ghost" and all of the things that come with being a member of an African American church - definitely.  However, I would not trade in the Sacraments and the Treasures of being in full communion with the Church that Christ began for any of it.

God bless...

12 comments:

triednotfried said...

The very fact that you have to "become a Catholic" instead just simply resting in being a child of God is very disturbing to me...

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

If God came down, and told you personally, that you should do something, would you do it, or would you just rest comfortably doing what you want to do?

You would do it, and so would I.

triednotfried said...

God doesn't have to "come down" to tell me something Carlus, He lives within me and I hear Him loud and clear....If you are "resting comfortably" it is actually a sign that you don't hear Him at all.

Kim said...

Everytime I hear this it shocks me! We have talked about this before and coming from Louisiana, black Catholics are everywhere. In fact if one wanted to find a Catholic church with gospel music, it would not be hard. Being a black Catholic has never been an issue for me, my friends or my family.
As a teenager mom and dad took us to a mostly African American church. The only thing that made it different was instead of singing traditional hymns, mostly gospel music was sung.
I do have to say being in North Texas and going to Mass, I do see the difference. There is only one other black family at mass. It was a bit of a shock not seeing more diversity, like I saw in Louisiana or even Alabama.
If you were in La. you would not be a "Walking Contradiction". Mostly every black person I know, including myself is Catholic. I pray that God continues to bless you on your journey. You have an awesome gift, please continue to share it with others!

born4battle said...

I pray that you do NOT mean that the RC is the god who came down from heaven. That would be blasphemy. God sent the Holy Spirit, not ANY organization. That IS in the Bible.

I still wish you were able to discuss a scriptural topic from scripture and not from Rome.

Sorry about the email. I thought it might be better to continue our discussion in private. Mano a mano does not suit you, apparently.

born4battle said...

OK, another leading question. Who feeds you these or do you dream them up yourself?

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

God doesn't have to "come down" to tell me something Carlus, He lives within me and I hear Him loud and clear
You have missed my whole point. The point is, if God tells you to do something. You do it.

I believe that God was calling me to become a Catholic. So I did it.

Carlus Henry said...

Kim,

God bless you...

You and your family was and still is a great example to me, showing me that it is not too ironic to be African American and Catholic.

God bless you on your journey of faith.

Carlus Henry said...

born4battle,

I pray that you do NOT mean that the RC is the god who came down from heaven. That would be blasphemy.Of course that would be blasphemy, and of course that is not what I am saying...


Sorry about the email. I thought it might be better to continue our discussion in private. Mano a mano does not suit you, apparently.
I would much rather have our conversations here, in the open. I am sure that you can respect that.

Carlus Henry said...

born4battle,

OK, another leading question. Who feeds you these or do you dream them up yourself?I don't even know what this is in reference to....but the answer to your question is I make them up myself.

triednotfried said...

Carlus: I didn't miss your point. I just wanted you to hear mine. He is no closer, or far away than He was before you "became" something...you were already something, a precious child of His. If I may ask, do you feel (not feelings) you are any more saved now than you were before? if so why...

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

If I may ask, do you feel (not feelings) you are any more saved now than you were before? if so why...
What a very interesting question. This is something that I have not thought of before. I think that it is because I do not think of my coming into full communion with the Catholic Church in those terms.

Short answer to your question is, no. I do not feel more saved now that I am a Catholic as oppose to when I was not.

I do however feel as though I am following God the way that He wanted me to follow Him. The way that I was supposed to follow him and I have access to the blessings (sacraments) that I was originally meant to have through this journey of life.

Good question though.

God bless...