Friday, July 30, 2010

GuestPost: The Hidden Option

By Jeremy Heuslein*

I am on my way back.

I still have questions. I still have concerns. I still, frankly, have qualms. But I see now there is a way.

Like many evangelicals, the Catholic Church was a mystery to me growing up, and I remember asking the question, “Are Catholics saved?” My parents gave an answer--if they happen to have faith in Jesus. But that was the extent of my exploration as a child into Mother Church. I had friends that were Catholic, but in my heart, I didn’t really believe they were Christians, that they knew God. Their lives were shrouded in mystery, in the unknown, and the unknown was bad.

Jump ahead to three years ago. I left home and went off to college - a nice, Midwest, evangelical one. There I encountered other theologies, outside my denomination’s self-named and appointed theology. My answers exploded. Was everyone’s opinion right? About everything? I swung into relativism--everybody had access to truth, even Truth, and whatever they drew from it was justified. In fact, why even go to church? Who needs a church? Isn’t there Life after Church?

My story is a singular happening, but there is a trend, a movement of an “emerging Christianity”. In the emerging Christianity, authority is cast off -- some go so far not even to have pastors or teachers -- and all beliefs are suspect. Feelings and whims are embraced, but this is not done to reject God, but live a life “of the Spirit”. Unfortunately, without grounding. There are many people attempting to find and live for God, find life and purpose and answers (albeit, troublesome philosophically, not to mention theologically--but then, whose theology?). Unfortunately, the choice to them is either this new, emerging way -- seeking truth outside a community, outside of a grounding tradition -- or a rejection of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Growing up, I drove past St. Stephen’s Catholic church everyday on my way to school. Never did it appear to me to be an option (or the option) of a community to which to belong. It was just there, mysteriously present with its high roof, big lawn, and complex annexes behind it. I’ve still never been inside. But I have been inside St. Michael’s, a Catholic church near my college. Most of it is still a mystery to me.  Like light passing through stained glass, there are bright and dark patches of illumination. But the fact is, where there had been none, there is now some illumination. As I begin to listen to the authorities speaking to me (which have always been speaking), as I find roots in the history, in the liturgy, and in the succession of the Church, my world is not darkened, I am not brainwashed -- I have been given new eyes to see and new ears to ears.

The Church, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, has been hidden in plain sight. I have learned that I do not need A New Kind of Christianity to fulfill what my heart has been longing for; I do not need a relevant, hip, cool, appealing to my consumer tastes “church experience”, but what I do need is Truth, a place of rest where I can receive instruction from authority and follow Jesus and live in the Spirit with grounding.

For all of us who are out there, wayward and outside the warmth of the Church, desperately trying to cling to something: there are old stones and Rock of the Church, strong throughout time, and an old home where we can rest. This is the hidden option, the option of Return.


*Jeremy Heuslein is beginning his senior year as a Philosophy and Ancient Languages major at Wheaton College (IL). He enjoys laughing, and consequently Improvisation Comedy, as well as dialoguing over Ethics, Theology, and Post-modernity. He comes from a family of six, with three brothers and a mother and father.

13 comments:

  1. I'd rather you be a Muslim or a Mormon than follow that emergent garbage...

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  2. "There are old stones and Rock of the Church, strong throughout time, and an old home where we can rest." Beautiful!

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  3. Jeremy!

    I don't think you know me but I work as an office TA in the philosophy department and I met you briefly when we had lunch with the bishop. This is incredibly exciting! I can't wait for school to start this year so I can hear the rest of your story.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Ruth

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  4. Thank-you for sharing,I Love the Lord with all my Heart and soul and mind, I'M Catholic, and I will be praying for you.

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  5. kkollwitz- that's cute! :D I'm a convert, and have had a very fun time since converting to the CC, 5.5 years ago. My husband and I returned after being away from the Church (the only one Jesus 'started) for nearly 30 years. 26 to be precise but he was a cradle Catholic. I 'entered' the Church back in 79 or 80...but it was not w/ my "whole heart, sould, mind and strength. It took a long time but somehow, God brought me to the place where my heart/mind were finally ready for the grace/faith to receive the Truth about Catholicism and after reading 3 books the first weekend of Dec. 2004, I couldn't wait to 'be Catholic!' God bless you, Jeremy, in your search and your "Homeward Journey." I'll remember you and pray for you at Mass.

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  6. Btw, Russ, aka: Tiber Jumper (@ http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com) sent me here. He's a wonderful person, genuine, ardent Catholic,(revert) gifted/talented musician and I'm happy to say, a real "brother" in Christ to me. We met on line 4 years ago when he 'visited' my blog and I've been so blessed to know him. He's helped me through quite a few things I've encountered, so keep in touch w/ him. God bless.

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  7. Jeremy, you are a man after my own heart in many ways. I have a B.A. and M.A. in Classics and have taught Latin and philosophy in public schools for twenty years. I, too, grew up Evangelical, but have been on the banks, contemplating the Tiber Swim for several years. God bless you in your discernment, brother.

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  8. I just stumbled upon you somewhat randomly from another blog I occasionally read. I enjoyed your thoughts. I grew up evangelical, went to Messiah College in PA (I'm sure you're familiar - Wheaton was one I considered as well.) and I've been Catholic for a bit over a year now.

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  9. I'm a cradle Catholic. Saw this post on Russ (Tiber Jumper)'s FB page.
    Welcome and pray for those of us who don't know what treasure we have. Susie

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  10. Great post. If you get a chance, you should try to make it to Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville, just 20 min down the road from Wheaton. It has the most lovely stained glass and is an awe-inspiring church.

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  11. "...what I do need is Truth, a place of rest where I can receive instruction from authority and follow Jesus and live in the Spirit with grounding..."

    That's it, right there: and I know exactly what it's like, that shocked disbelief, to see for the first time that the Church corresponds to these desires born in us by grace.

    Welcome home, bro.

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  12. tnx brother for sharing your conversion story. as a cradle and now reformed Catholic, your story strengthens my Faith the more. God bless you!

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