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A Catholic Convert talks about faith and life

Maybe Bill Maher can have a “Field of Dreams” moment

Earlier today I came across this post -

“BILL MAHER: JESUS CHRIST WAS A ‘PALESTINIAN’ WHO DID ‘MAGIC TRICKS’”

and it made me think of some things.  The first thing it made me think of was how I used to think the exact same way that Bill Maher does now. I believed that only weak, gullible people could possibly believe in something like Christianity, or even God Himself for that matter.  I would look down at people who I knew were believers, even though some of the strongest, most intelligent people I knew were also believers.  You can explain anything away if you try hard enough, just like Bill Maher does with his line “You can have whatever opinion you want, and the fact that a billion other people believe it gives you a lot of strength and credence.”  This was his way of saying that just because you and a billion other idiots have this opinion doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to be idiots as well.  I’m paraphrasing, but I’m pretty sure that was his point.  The next thing that it made me think of was the fact that I am going to continue to pray for Bill Maher, and others like him, to have what I call their “Field of Dreams” moment. Continue reading

“Hey Dad, what do you think of the Tigers signing Prince Fielder?”

Prince Fielder

Today was a big day for my favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers. They signed one of the biggest free agents in baseball, Prince Fielder, to a nine year $214 million deal. Absolutely staggering, ridiculous money, but what do I care, it’s not my money. All afternoon my coworkers and I were talking about the big news, I read newspaper accounts, checked out twitter, listened to all the news  I could on the radio. There was only one thing missing – the phone call I would have normally had with my dad when something big like this happened. Continue reading

But whoever denies me before men…..

 

Great Adventure Bible Study Logo

Click Here for Info on The Great Adventure Bible Study

Something interesting happened to me at work yesterday. I am currently taking The Great Adventure Bible Timeline by Jeff Cavins at my church, which I highly recommend, and class was last night. I hadn’t quite finished answering all of the questions the night before, so I took the materials to work with me so I could finish at lunch. When lunchtime came I took out my workbook and Bible and started doing my homework at my desk. My boss came by, we are pretty friendly with each other, and asked if I was studying something. Much to my surprise, I answered without hesitation “yeah, I’m doing Bible study homework.” Continue reading

The conversion process comes full circle

Stumbling into the faith, continued.

At this point in the process I have a church that I believe the teachings of, I have finally come to believe that Jesus did resurrect from the dead.  That belief took a long time to come to grips with, much longer than I made it seem in my previous post.  I had always considered the resurrection to be a myth, but now convinced that it was true, that belief carries with it many answers, as well as many responsibilities. Continue reading

The Church of Claude Lemieux

Continued from yesterday, how I stumbled my way into the Catholic faith.

In my hockey example from yesterday we were left with Detroit fans thinking one thing and Colorado fans thinking something else, but who decides who’s right and who’s wrong?  Well, in the hockey world the referee on the ice makes the initial determination by deciding to call a penalty or not.  Then the league will review the play to see if additional measures are needed, such as a suspension.  In this case, Lemieux was called for a penalty by the on ice official, and suspended for two games by the league.  Case closed. Dirty play, right?  Not so fast, Avalanche and Lemieux fans will still say it’s not a dirty hit regardless of the league ruling.  And they will make that determination watching the exact same video that all sane people use to prove it was dirty.  So, again, only Lemieux knows for sure.

But, what if Claude Lemieux had formed the NHL.  What if he had gone out and picked twelve Canadians and told them they would form a league, and that league would continue until the end of time.  Through lockouts, player strikes, bad calls in Stanley Cup finals.  He would teach the twelve Canadians everything he knew about hockey, and he knew the game perfectly.  He would commission them to go out and expand the league as they saw fit, even to far away lands like Tampa and Dallas.  To forgive or punish plays based on their discretion, because he had given them the authority to do so.  Then, these men passed the teachings of Claude Lemieux on to other men because, after all, the league had to last until the end of time.  It could not just fade away with the death of the twelve Canadians.  Then, those men passed it on to others, and so on, and so on, until today.  Would that league have the ultimate authority and knowledge to rule on the hit, and what Claude Lemieux meant when he did it?

Now, I know this isn’t a perfect example.  Claude Lemieux can’t start the NHL and then many generations later be penalized by the same league, I’m aware of that.  What we have in Christianity, however, is somewhat similar.  I came to believe the Catholic Church’s claim that Jesus founded a Church, and that Church has handed down the teachings of Christ from generation to generation for 2000 years.  At about the 1500 year mark there were some folks who were getting very upset with some people within that original church, with some valid reasons,  and decided to start their own Church.  Now, that split church is about 30,000 different churches, molding the teachings of Christ to be just about anything under the sun.  If you can dream it, you can find a church that will say that it’s OK for you to do it.  On the other hand, that original Church is still here, still teaching the same things about Christ as it was 2000 years ago.  There is tons more that goes into this particular argument, but in a nutshell that’s it.  One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – in my belief there is only one that fits the bill.

Later I’ll explore how I came to that belief.  To be continued…

 

 

Introduction

Hello World!  My name is Matt Shewell and I am a recent convert to the Catholic Faith.  I was received into The Church on July 31, 2010 and have been trying to learn as much as I can and figured maybe a blog would help to open a dialog with others.

First, a little background.  I am a 39 (soon to be 40) year old Electrical Engineer who lives in  the metro Detroit area with my wife, and catalyst for my conversion, Emily.  I lived most of my life as an atheist/agnostic constantly wavering between “there is no God” and “there might be some kind of higher power, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the God of any religion”.  Emily, on the other hand, was a baptized, never confirmed, non practicing Catholic.  One day after being married for a little over two years, Emily and I are sitting in the living room and she tells me “I want to bring our marriage into the Catholic Church”.  I actually agreed pretty quick, as long as I didn’t have to become a Catholic to do it.  I “knew” some things about the Catholic Church, and I knew that I wanted no part of it.  Emily asked me why I would not become Catholic, and I started listing some things that I knew:

  1. The Church does not allow for any form of birth control
  2. The Chuch says that no abortions can be performed, even in cases of rape and incest.
  3. Catholic Priests have been abusing children for years because The Church forces them to live an unnatural lifestyle that causes perversion
  4. The Church wants 10% of all your money

Emily’s response – “No one actually believes any of that”

My response – “Exactly, and that is the problem”

So, Emily made an appointment with a Deacon at our local Catholic Church and I agreed to go.  I found out that I was going to need to get a declaration of nullity, I had been previously married for a very short time.  And, if we wanted to become Catholic we would need to attend RCIA starting in the fall.  I wasn’t too thrilled about any of this, but I agreed because it meant a lot to Emily.  However, I told Emily that I couldn’t go through with the RCIA part because I knew that I would not become Catholic.  I told her I could not “join” a church that I did not believe in, and I was never going to believe.  She said that she was going to attend the RCIA classes and receive the sacraments and would like for me to do the same, but she understood if I could not.  So I made a promise that I would look into the Church and make an honest effort to figure out why the Church teaches what it does, but I could not become Catholic if I could find fault in any of the teachings.  One bad/All bad.  That I knew in my heart.

Much to my surprise, the more I tried to shoot down the Catholic Church’s teaching on things like contraception, the more I learned that they were right.  Not only on that but everything that I investigated.  Abortion, marriage, celibate priesthood, donating to the Church, pretty much everything.  I had come to the conclusion that if there was a God, and  if Jesus Christ was His Son, then this was his Church.  Only one problem…I still didn’t completely believe in God, or that Jesus Christ was His Son.  Of course, I knew that Jesus existed, the historical record proves that beyond any shadow of a doubt.  But the Son of God?  That was going to take a bit more convincing.

Needless to say, through some major life changes that occurred along the way, I did come to believe in God, Jesus, and the One True Church.  I won’t get into the entire story here, but as the blog goes along I’m sure that everything will come out eventually.  All I know is that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and I’ve never been happier than since I turned my life over to Him and His Church.  The Church that is currently governed by an 84 year old man in Rome.

Thanks for reading, and more to come later.