From Ignorance to Bliss


My Journey to the Catholic Church


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Introduction



Manicured lawns, kids playing in the streets, and dads barbequing in the summer: I grew up in the quintessential suburban American neighborhood. Each family was similar to the next, having the same values and outlook and each relatively the same size. One family on my street, however, broke the mold. Instead of the standard two or three children, this family had seven. I remember asking my mother why that family was so large, and her simple answer was, "Oh, they're Catholic." Knowing little of Catholicism and even less of how children were conceived, I figured that these "Catholics" must have a better relationship with the stork than the rest of us.

Though I'd learn soon enough how babies came to be, my ignorance of Catholicism persisted, mingled with some minor, usually stereotypical, details. I knew that Catholics took a different view of alcohol than the folks at my church, and I heard rumors that they had even added a few books to their bibles, but in general I was woefully ignorant of this church - it may have had over a billion members, but I personally knew very few of them.

My own religious upbringing was garden-variety American Midwest: membership in a conservative Methodist church with Evangelical leanings. In my sophomore year of high school I made a public decision to accept Jesus as my "personal Lord and Savior", and although this led me to abandon my nascent flirtation with partying, in general I grew in my Christian faith as most do: slowly and with a lot of missteps. But by the time I got to college I recognized the inadequacies of an immoral lifestyle, and a passion for the Bible had given me a deep, if narrow, appreciation for theological topics.
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