A blogger I admire and who was really influential on my formation--yet who was...i will say he was firmly rooted in truth and held to it and would not waver an inch to appease someone who was sincere, but wrong--His mantra was “the problem is you and the solution is repentance.” Of course, we shouldnt go around saying that to others, but we should (and should encourage everyone to) turn that harsh but true doctrine on ourselves. If everyone took seriously the examination of their own lives, and stopped examining the lives of those around them (with all their cliques, etc) we would be in a much better place.

We all have a big blind spot where out own faults are concerned and a big telescope searching out faults of others. Some beliefs are wrong, some beliefs are right. Some factionalism is healthy competition, some is deleterious and scandalizes the faithful. We can’t control anyone else. We can only control ourselves. So if we really undertake a heroic effort to examine our own lives and make sure we are as close to truth as possible, we can hold to it unflaggingly and with indefatigable confidence. We can stop worrying about others being wrong and worry about trying to lead them right. We can only do that if we are constantly pruning away our own errors.

I learned a lot of this just from being married. A wise man i heard recently suggested we ask (in the context of relationships and marriage), “what am i bringing to this conflict?” and i think that is the important question.

We all want peace and unity, we all hate dissension and factionalism. But what are *we* bringing to the conflict? Is it peace, or is it deeper conflict?

Thank you for this article--well worth the time to self reflect on how we can be a light and not a barrel.

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Jan 23Liked by Jennifer Fitz

One thing we can do is stop talking about "protestants," a term that has come to mean nothing more than not Catholic. And not all so tagged are anti-Catholic. They are just not Catholic. Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Reformed churches deserve the Protestant label since they came directly from the theology reforms led by Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, and other Reformation leaders.

Anglicans and Church of England, on the other hand, trace back to the desire of Henry VIII for a divorce. I would not categorize them as theological protestors. Methodists are an American denomination with roots in the Church of England. Wesley was a Church of England missionary who couldn't get enough ordained priests from the home country to support the dynamic growth in America so started ordaining his own, thus creating the split.

Baptists were not 16th Century Reformers but have their own history.

So there is no general statement that can be made about protestants as the term is used today other than that they are not Catholic. Lutherans and Episcopalians are close enough that there seems to be a fairly steady stream of them converting to Catholicism, and perhaps vice versa as well. I would guess that most present day conversions of Baptists and other miscellaneous evangelicals follow Marriage to a Catholic.

I doubt we will close the theology gap between Catholics and the myriad other Christian churches in less than a millennia or two but I believe there is opportunity to close the understanding gap. Unless we understand what the beliefs of a denomination are and their reasons for them, we are in a poor position to evangelize or even discuss the issues that divide us.

I think of Paul having some understanding of the Corinthian's faith as he addressed them and Jesus having a perfect understanding of the faith of the Woman at the Well as they discussed water.

Here is one feeble attempt to increase understanding and address some things we might agree on even with the Baptists: https://stpetersmpg.blog/2023/01/06/mpg-january-4-2023-theology-matters-simpler-not-always-better/

And here is a tongue in cheek attempt, written before I was Catholic, to suggest a possible way to reduce the clutter: http://www.lastofall.net/2009/12/big-methodists.html

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