I want you to know that I am having to throw away the Song of Acadia series of books that I purchased. It didn’t take too much reading in the first book to see that you hate your fellow Christian brothers and sisters who are Catholic.
I have seen this same cutting sarcasm in other books by other authors and I am perplexed at how one can consider themselves to be Christian yet use the power of the published word to put down other Christians because of differences in beliefs. Is that not a sin in your Bible?
Do not all Christians believe in the One, True, Triune God? Is there not “Power in the Word”?
Do you think what you are doing is pleasing to the God that we both believe in? I don’t!
I am 57 years old and I have been a Catholic all my life. I attend Mass every Sunday and then some. I have lived in several states and many cities and have attended many different Catholic churches and not once in those 3,000 to 4,000 Masses has a priest ever spoken in a cutting way towards our fellow Christians. They may speak of our differences but never in an uncharitable way.
When we use the “word,” written or spoken, we bring life or death. To bring death is a sin against the 5th Commandment.
I read the work of many different Christian writers. I often learn good lessons from them as they open my eyes to new things about God. How sad that you emphasize hatred and consider yourself a Christian writer. Just using the word God here or there doesn’t make up for the unkind words.
And, Mr. Bunn, like so many of my fellow Christians who hate Catholics, might I suggest that instead of hating our religion based on bias from those who have educated you to be so, that instead, out of curiosity, you study what we Catholics believe about ourselves from OUR point of view. You will find there is no need to hate us. Of course our enemies speak ill of us. Therefore, what they say is biased. Seek truth.
While I do understand your sensitivity to the issue, I must tell you that of the 2.5 million readers we have been blessed with for this series, you are the first to form this impression.
My wife, mother, and sister are Catholic. I am writing a series based upon the early church for the largest Catholic publisher in the US.
There are indeed people within the evangelical Protestant community who hold to this bias, I am sorry to say. I am not one of them.
What we tried to do in the Song of Acadia series is demonstrate the extreme tension between two communities in Canada’s early days.
I don’t have a Protestant heritage. I have a Catholic heritage. I thought the devotional made it sound like my faith didn’t count. You weren’t talking to me. But, I love Jesus, talk to Him personally, daily; I read the scriptures; I tithe and I listen to God. I felt like your characterization was exclusionary. I don’t understand it.
So I stopped reading the book for a long time. I picked the book back up and finished it on Easter. It was wonderful. But I haven’t figured out how to process this Protestant discussion.
I have wanted to address this very issue since completing The Turning and the accompanying devotionals, but I was not sure how. Your email, in truth, is an answer to a prayer. By far the best way to speak about this is in response to a reader.
Let me begin by saying that I am married to a Catholic, a wonderful woman who has taught me more about faith than any person alive. My mother and my sister have both converted to Catholicism. I have recently been asked to write a series for the largest Catholic publisher in the United States.
But this particular book, and the devotional lessons, were written for a conservative US Christian publisher. And the reason why I felt called to write on this subject – the one specific intent above all others – was because far too many evangelical Protestants have lost all touch with the contemplative aspects of our faith and our Christian heritage.
Too often these days, such people see the whole issue of spiritual contemplation as being a “Catholic” concept. And this simply is wrong. It hurts me to hear it referred in this way from the pulpit, because it reflects a “majority opinion” within many churches that just does not jibe with who we are and what has formed a foundation of our Christian heritage from the very beginning.
This devotional is first and foremost aimed at the Protestant believer who (and I mean this quite sincerely), has most likely never had contact with the message of contemplation. In order to break through this barrier, it was necessary to specifically address their incorrect assumption that the discipline of attentiveness is Catholic in nature.
First of all, the majority of lessons that shape Christian contemplation predate what we today refer to as the Catholic church. I suppose the better way to speak of this is by referring to today’s structure as the Roman church, as opposed to the Eastern church or Orthodox church. If you are interested in how this issue specifically relates to the discipline of contemplation, may I suggest you read a truly wonderful book by Phyllis Tickle, former Senior Religion Editor of Publishers Weekly, titled The Age of the Spirit. In any case, the whole concept of Christian contemplation is grounded in the Old Testament and given its first formal shape in the time of persecution during the second and third centuries.
But what is far more vital for today’s Protestant audience, the people who in my opinion need these lessons the most, is that the discipline of attentiveness—what today is referred to in the Catholic community as contemplation—was a vital component of the Protestant movement from the very beginning.
That is why I wrote the second lesson as I did. My intention was never to exclude the Catholics. In later lessons more than half the examples I used in describing life-changing revelations came from Catholic believers.
But there are any number of wonderful texts from Catholic sources, including many contemporary writers, about the wonders of spiritual silence. And yet these are simply not known or discussed in many Protestant churches. It is tragic and unnecessary, in my opinion. Their walk would be richer for including this. Mine certainly has been. And in order to reach these people, I addressed their incorrect assumptions at the starting gate. The founders of the Protestant denominations both practiced contemplative prayer and urged it among their followers.
We should all do so today, and learn to listen better.