Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener

My boyfriend joined me on another "Shopping Adventure with Jaggy" today. Bless him, he has such patience. I was in search of a specific book title, an out-of-print book that I can only seem to find online. Being tenacious (okay, downright stubborn) and unwilling to give up so easily, I dragged him along to every Christian bookstore in the mid-valley. We did not end up finding the book.

The search, however, proved to be one of the most interesting and shocking experiences I've had so far in my search for religious knowledge. Each of the bookstores we went into seemed to have a decidedly anti-Catholic inventory. Of all of the bookstores, Borders had the greatest selection of New American Bibles. They also had the largest area of Catholic-related literature. The Christian bookstores not only carried the smallest number of "full" Bibles (Bible plus Apocrypha), but they had nothing in the way of Catholic literature or study materials. When I asked one storekeeper if he had rosaries in stock, he looked at me with a sneer and stated, "We don't carry that kind of stuff here." Of course, I realize the odds of a non-Catholic asking about rosaries is pretty slim, but maybe I just wanted to buy one as a gift for a friend (okay, I just wanted to see if the ones available commercially are as good as the ones I can make myself).

Regardless of your opinions concerning any version of the Bible or if you agree or disagree with rosaries, that's not my point. I don't understand why any true "Christian" store would exclude Catholicism or the entire customer base of Catholics. Seems pretty stupid business-wise.

As a side note, I have to say how disturbed I am with any literature or material proclaiming or suggesting an "Army of God" or "Jesus warrior." If I'm not mistaken, the entire point of Christ's teaching is peace. The terms "warrior" and "army" don't exactly sound peaceful, nor are they terms I'd associate with Christianity. Honestly, scary stuff. I think it's possible to follow the church without using warfare or hostility, and I'd imagine kindness is far more effective than soul-bashing. Ugh.

So, now I've seen what it's like to walk into a Christian bookstore as a Protestant seeking information for myself, and as someone whom others assume to be Catholic. It's not about picking sides or saying one is better. I'm still learning. That's the whole point of trying to get this book!

But the anti-Catholic sentiment isn't appreciated. We need to be more understanding, especially within the circle of Christianity. After all, we're on the same side. The grass very well maybe always greener on the other side...


Ian Oberst said...

Truth be told, many protestant denominations do not consider Catholicism to be "christian." They have enough dogma that they feel falls outside of what the Bible allows for that they are pushed aside to the status of a cult. Walking into a Christian bookstore (most, anyway) and asking for things that are fairly catholic would be like asking for a Book of Mormon.

Surprisingly enough, many people don't equate such harsh terms like "warrior," "war," or any such terms with Jesus at all. In fact, most people have the view that Jesus is all about peace and the like, but this is not true.

Viewing Jesus as being all about peace and nothing else is to be missing part of who He is. It is true that Jesus is "the Prince of Peace," but He is also God...the same God that rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah, ordered the Israelites to destroy nations, and caused the ground to open up and swallow those in the Israelite camp that had sinned.

Jesus Himself attested to this in several places (Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:51). He is about peace...but that peace has to do with us and God, peace gained from His blameless sacrifice. However, He has not promised that He would bring us peace within this world. The New Testament warns us that as believers, the world will despise us and persecute us...not a very peaceful thing for Jesus bring upon us.

In light of this, statements such as "warrior" and other terms make sense, but only when properly understood. Parts of the Bible make it clear that there is a var going on, and that we are soldiers of God. However, our war is not with men, but of the spirit, fighting the spiritual principalities that are established on earth in order to fulfill the great commission to which Christ has commanded us: to make disciples of all nations.

the boy said...

I think that it's fair for Catholics to see that some Protestant faiths fall outside of Christianity as well. Catholicism existed as the first and only Christian church until different denominations broke away.

Remember, the Bible itself is Catholic (*gasp*), compiled as it was through inspiration from God. With this inspiration, the entire council of cardinals all came up with the same books to include independently. So to say that Catholicism doesn't agree with the Bible is a little off...

cm0978 said...

Perhaps using the term "army of God" makes those people feel part of something strong and mighty, like they're on the winning side. It's certainly an emotional phrase.

I like Ian's statement that the war is within ourselves; it's a daily battle we wage.

Jaggy said...

Thanks for all the comments! I'm glad to see that people are actually reading and thinking about what I write here (as opposed to me blathering on for no purpose).

Ian is correct in stating we are all at war with ourselves, a spiritual battle to overcome that which does not bring glory to God.

However, I would argue that the people who cover their Bibles and wear shirts and advertise that they are part of the "Army of God" aren't the kind of quiet, peaceful people who understand the "internal struggle" as much as the Bible-bashing methods.

The Boy is correct, also, in stating "to say that Catholicism doesn't agree with the Bible is a little off..." Which is precisely why I find it odd when Christian bookstores don't carry the Bible (NAB or other Catholic versions).

Just my opinion, though, of course.