Fiver Minute Friday — United

Sometimes, I impress myself. It’s Friday and I’m writing my Five Minute Friday post! As you know, I don’t usually get around to it until Saturday.

I’m always honored to join my fellow bloggers at Kate’s place (http://katemotaung.com/2016/04/21/five-minute-friday-unite/) to share thoughts on our prompt word of the week. There are some incredible insights gleaned from the crew. I always get something out of their posts as I read what others write. Take a minute to visit … and you’re always welcome to contribute! Kate has the rules posted at her site {there aren’t many and nothing restrictive}.

So, let’s set the time for five minutes and see where this goes on the prompt word UNITE. GO

This might be a little off topic. When I first saw the prompt, I immediataly thought of being united as one body … or as I like to say, That All May Be One in Christ.

But I decided not to make this a “religious” post, but rather share an experience I talked about a few years ago when a group of guys came together and united in friendship for breakfast and fellowship.

Roger Bonjour, Richard Goetz, Tom Gilkey, John Groh, Bill Keller, Jeff Lindgren, Howard Ludlow, John McNeil, Joe Musser, Ed Niday, Jim Orcutt, Alan Rowe, Dave Smith, Lynn Snyder, Dale Weinreich.

I’ll get back to those names in a minute. I have to digress a bit and give you a history lesson — my faith history lesson. I was born and raised a Catholic, drifted away, returned, drifted away, returned and drifted away.

I remember as a young Boy Scout, I signed up for a trip to the famous churches in New York City {and a badge} like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and others. I was excited until my parish priest admonished me to stay out of “those” churches that weren’t, shall we say, of the Catholic persuasion. I stayed on the bus for the first stop, but ventured with the other scouts into the rest.

Guess what?

The buildings didn’t collapse on me. I wasn’t indoctrinated. I enjoyed the architecture and was in awe of the stained glass windows. “Those” churches weren’t much different in structure and functionality than my traditional Catholic churches.

That was probably my — no — it was my first exposure outside my faith comfort zone and the first time I questioned why there were so many different denominations, although I didn’t think about it much after getting back home, you know, with baseball and football and basketball going on.

My first “drift” was after we got married, but we {Karen and I} returned to familiar surroundings after the kids started coming. My second drift came when, as a member of the Parish Council, I was aghast when the pastor’s secretary interrupted a Council meeting to tell the priest a caller was on the phone about a person who had died and he blurted out, “He’ll still be there when I’m done here.” My next drift came when my dear wife was “born again” … STOP

… and it became too cumbersome for us to attend different services at different churches. She was considering joining the Church of the Open Bible, but we agreed to church shop and find a compromise between the Pentecostal and Catholic traditions. We settled on a Baptist church, first in Belvidere, IL, and later in Rockford, IL.

Back to the names.

I’m not sure why or how I started going, but I was introduced to an informal men’s bible study. We met every Thursday morning for breakfast at a restaurant in Rockford. Over a bottomless coffee cup and an English muffin or bacon and eggs, we shared our week’s successes and failures, prayed with each other and dove into Scripture.

I wouldn’t recognize any of them today {nor they me}, but I remember the sessions. Here we were, 16 men from different professions, from different faiths, from different experiences, gathered together for fellowship and study. We never got hung up on denominational doctrines, although we did broach potentially explosive issues.

What struck me most about this group, however, is how close we became. When I re-injured my back, I had visits from every one of them, either before or after surgery, at home or while I was in the hospital.

That was my first real taste of ecumenism and it made a profound impression that has colored my Christian view ever since.

Ironically, my last “drift” in Illinois ended with my joining the Catholic press — go figure — in Toledo, OH, and Washington, DC. I took on the assignments as a ministry and my mantra was trying to bridge the denominational gap between Catholics and other denominations. My readers seemed to appreciate the initiative, but the conservative hierarchy was not quite as accepting … leading to another drift into the Reformed tradition {where I actually became an elder} and most recently as a Presbyterian {where I am also an elder}.

I still don’t like denominational labels. I prefer to call myself a Christian … something I have done for well over 50 years.

Thanks to a group of 16 guys who commandeered the back of a restaurant in Rockford, I understood the meaning of 1 Corinthians 12 and I long for the day when all will be one.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Junk is something you throw away three weeks before you need it.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in ecumenism, encouragement, Faith, Five Minute Friday, Friends, Life, love, Memories, prayer, relationships and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fiver Minute Friday — United

  1. I find it fascinating how God works in us to break down denominational barriers to unite us in Him. Thanks for your post 🙂

  2. Charlotte says:

    Lovely post! Your neighbour on the linkup 😊

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