My Journey to the Catholic Church

Today I post my second writing of a religious nature. I have a few other topics in mind; however, lately (the past few months) I’ve been very tired and haven’t felt that well. My sinus has been killing me for the last few weeks. In fact, I spent an hour in the emergency room last Saturday because I couldn’t breath. I’ve been having more headaches and migranes than usual and have also suffered from acid reflux. When I come home at night, I’m exhausted with nothing left in the tank. I’m getting older and I can feel it. I’ve cut way back on my writing over the last six months. I’m just starting to get a feel for this new, different style, of writing, so please bear with me.

My Journey to the Catholic Church
Reverdy Lewin Orrell, III
(1221 words)
May, 2008

On Monday, April 14, 2006, after months of prayer and careful consideration, I decided to join the Catholic Church. This decision was brought about after considerable research of the scriptures, writings of the early church fathers, and reflections on the beliefs of the Catholic Church.
At first, I had considerable doubts regarding a few of the sacraments of Catholicism; however, after listening to enlightened explanations of the Catholic faith by Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and Fr. Mitch Pacwa (all hosts of various EWTN shows), I came to understand and accept the reasoning behind the sacraments. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) proved to be a wonderful source of information as was their website.
My wife, Nora, who is Catholic, answered questions I had, but in no way ever tried to convince me to give up my Southern Baptist faith in favor of Catholicism. She encouraged me to attend and rejoin a Southern Baptist Church and always attended Sunday services with me. I also attended Saturday evening Mass with her.
There are some things I will miss in the Southern Baptist Church. I find the music and praise and worship part of the service to be very uplifting. I enjoyed the friendliness of the church I joined; however the Catholic Church we attend is also very friendly.
I have always had a great amount of respect for the Catholic Church and respect all mainstream Christian religions. Each has their own form of worship and much can be gained and learned from the various denominational differences. I still believe the Baptist full-immersion baptism is biblically correct.
Certainly, the Catholic Church has its own share of problems. In America, the recent problems with abusive priests, has caused worldwide concern and shame for Catholics everywhere. Pope Benedict XVI addressed this situation several times this week while visiting the United States.
My studies, research, and journey have answered many questions I had. I’ve discovered the reasons behind many of the Catholic traditions which have shaped the church for the last two thousand years. My first reaction to many things in the Catholic Church was “that’s not in the bible.” However, I came to learn and understand that many of our Christian practices and traditions came from the teachings of the Apostles and early church fathers. The bible states in John 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, that which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
Jesus taught the twelve Apostles many things that weren’t recorded in the bible. The Apostles, in turn, shared the teachings of Christ with many others. Some of them are who we refer to as the ‘early church fathers’. For some reason, I had never really thought about that. I then began to read some of the teachings of the apostles and the early church fathers, which cleared up several issues.
I’ve always respected the Catholic Church for taking a conservative view of the bible and adhering to its teachings. Unlike many other religions who’ve caved into political correctness, or changed their teachings over the years to appease man, the Catholic Church has stood firm. While other churches have relaxed their standards and turned to a ‘feel good’ style of preaching, I find the Catholic Church has remained solid in their core beliefs.
Their outspoken stance on abortion and sanctity of life is unerring. It has not changed because of modern man’s belief they know more than God. Certainly, the Catholic Church has in recent times, been plagued with the priestly sexual abuse scandal; however, they’re working to correct that. While no church condones the actions of the priests, some religions are openly ordaining open homosexual ministers; even, to the point, of elevating them to positions of high authority within their congregations. I trust Pope Benedict, aided by his Cardinals and Bishops, will deal with the problem head on and work towards healing.
Many, if not most, Christian religions ordain women. However, the Catholic Church has taken a firm and unpopular stance, with its refusal to bend the gospel teachings found in the New Testament. 1st Corinthians 14:34 states, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” This is supported by 1st Timothy 2:12 which states, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Like it or not, Jesus chose twelve men to be his Disciples. After the death of Judas, the remaining eleven voted and placed another man in that position. The Catholic Church followed the example of Christ, Apostles, and early church fathers. They remained true to Christ’s teachings, never bending in our politically correct society. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God and Jesus.
The church’s actions and reliance on women is well known and heavily documented. Many women have been canonized to Sainthood. Consider for a moment the wonderful works of Nuns throughout the ages. Look at the works from the various women’s orders. No one would ever deny Mother Theresa her role of helping the poor people of India. Quite honestly, without the working of women in any church or denomination, that church or denomination would fail. The women are the backbone of the church and the family.
While all of the above were steps in my journey, one final item cemented my path to the Catholic Church. I did not hear this on any TV show, nor did I read this in any book. It was something that took me back to when I was born again and read the bible from beginning to end for the first time in 1981. I was always struck by Luke 22:19 which said, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
In all the words and teaching of Christ, that was the only thing he asked of us to honor him. He spoke of the Father, the Holy Spirit, of prayer, and of the way we should live. He asked for nothing more than honoring him through the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine. Call it what you will – communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist – it was his only wish.
I wrestled with the fact that all religions, other than Catholic, (or closely related to Catholic) only have communion once a month at most. Some churches have it once a quarter, others only once or twice a year. I’ve heard that some rarely have communion claiming that attendance falls off when communion is served. A communion worship service takes longer which displeases many people. How ungrateful!
Considering what Jesus did for us and sacrificed for us, it is a pitiful response of ‘the faithful’ to turn their back on the one thing that Jesus asked of us. Only the Catholic Church understood the importance of the act. The Eucharist is to be offered at every Mass. It was that tradition that led me on my journey to the Catholic Church.

Religious Drawing By High School Student

I can’t draw a straight line even using a ruler. I’m color blind and have a terrible problem with different shades under various light sources. Drawing isn’t one of the talents God gave me. I marvel at anyone with artistic ability whether it be drawing or painting.
Below is a drawing I recently came across by a high school student. I’m sorry that I don’t have a better version of it; however I believe the student has some talent.
I’m just curious as to what grade you might give for the drawing. I’d have to say about an 85. What say you?

A Return To ‘Op-Ed’ Writing

I’m going to get back into a little ‘op-ed’ type of writing again, but only from a religious and biblical perspective. The days of lashing out at liberals on every issue have ended and I’m not going back to that style of writing.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve received a few emails that my voice has been silent for too long. I agree; however, I repeat, my op-ed pieces won’t be worded the same as ones in the past. Certain words and slang expressions which peppered my vocubulary will be stricken. Does that mean I’ve softened my stance or changed my opinion on matters? Absolutely not! It does mean my approach will be a little different, my language a little less colorful, my tongue a little duller, but my intensiveness will remain the same. When it comes to being politically correct vs biblically correct, I’m putting my money on the Word of God.
I’m sure many people are glad to hear my conservative writings will resume, but are a little disappointed in that I’ve waited so long. I won’t be able to write as many pieces as I did before and will only write when something of a religious or biblical nature (from our current headlines) strikes my fancy.
I received many emails a few weeks ago when Obama’s situation regarding his minister’s sermons and beliefs hit the front page. Suffice it to say, Obama never did denouce the ‘Rev’ Wright, but contended he cringed at some of the comments his white grandmother made about blacks.
If he ever looses his job as a U.S. Senator (heaven help us if he is elected President!), he can always get a job driving a bus. He threw his grandmother off the bus, or rather, tossed her under the bus! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the following day, he put the bus in reverse and backed over her again. (That was his comments claiming she was a ‘typical white woman’).
Obama gets a pass this time – but not in the future. I still don’t watch that many newscasts and do not read the newspapers. However, from time to time, certain things happen which you find out about whether you care to or not.
My total ‘news’ coverage involves about five minutes a day. When I get up on a workday I fix my coffee and sit down in front of the TV. I put on Fox News for a few minutes, then put on CNN for a few minutes. I figure if anything earth shattering has happened in the world, both would be covering the same story. If there’s two different stories on those two channels, I switich over to something else, like the hockey channel or one of the religious channels.
No, I don’t bother to even check out the weather or traffic reports. I’ll know what the weather is when I stick my head out the door.

How Many Times Will You Be Born & Die?

Inspiration91_John3-3.jpgDr. H. L. Willmington made an outstanding point in one of his lectures in the Creation Stage of the Liberty Home Bible Institute series.
He said something to the effect of “the number of times you were born, will determine the number of times you will die”.
This is a very profound statement.
There are two births and two deaths. You have a physical birth and death and a spiritual birth and death.
If you are only born once (physically) you will die twice. You’ll suffer the physical death, then before God you’ll suffer a spiritual death.
If you are born physcially, then become ‘born again’ (your second or ‘spiritual’ birth), you’ll only suffer a physical death. When you stand before God after your death, you’ll not suffer a spiritual death, but will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Also, if you are a believer and are living at the time of Jesus’ return, you’ll never suffer a physical death. You’ll be called up to heaven with all believers.
That was a very interesting point.

Some Misc Thoughts

RebBibleBlog.jpgSadly, I must report that the number of visitors has drastically dropped since I changed the blog from an attacking politically incorrect blog to a bible based blog. That was certainly expected going from a political – society commentary blog to one about religion. I even received one very nasty email on the subject. Numerous other supporters have left the scene without comment.
Others want to know when I’m going to really start ‘writing’ about religion, rather than just posting scripture, items from books, inspirational photos, etc. That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer yet; however, knowing my writing background, I know that it is coming. Sooner or later, I’ll be writing all sorts of pieces on various topics. Every now and then I get the urge to do that now; but, as yet, have refrained. The reason is quite simple. I really don’t want to embarrass myself. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m not a great thinker. My thoughts don’t amount to much. I’m like a cheap cut of meat in a crock pot. I need slow cooking over a long period to marinate, tenderize, and become palatable.
I need to read and study the Word. I just don’t want to read the bible. I want to study it and understand it. I don’t want to just memorize scripture, I want to live it. That takes time.
Each one of us has our own cross to bear. I took a good look at myself and decided I didn’t like what I saw. It was time to change some things around in my life.
After all, it’s always been my intention to grow up before I turned 60. I just might make it although the jury is still out.
We all grow at different speeds and different levels. Some children walk at nine months; for others, they’re 15 months old before they walk. It’s like with coming to the Lord. Some accept and follow him at an early age and continue to follow him the rest of their life.
For me, I was about 31 before I was saved. I then went to church and did some bible study off and on for the next 18 years. Mainly, time was spent away from church, the bible, prayer, and God.
Now I have a renewed passion in my life to read and study His word. I pray that never ends.
Do I suddenly intend to stand on the corner and preach and try to save the World? Do I suddenly intend to become holier than thou and point out other’s flaws?
The answer is absolutely NO. For once in my life I’m being very self-centered. At this stage I’m only concerned about getting myself right with God, following the teachings of the bible, and doing what little I can to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Quite honestly, that’s a full time job and one that I’ve enjoyed doing the last four months.
Hopefully, my blog will somehow play a part in making someone turn to the Lord. Perhaps it will renew someone’s interest in their walk with the Lord. Maybe someone has turned their back on religion and my blog will make them start to think about things. Maybe, it’s just something as simple as becoming the tool or instrument that keeps me focused on God. If it keeps me on the straight and narrow and never even affects anyone else, it has served a purpose.
No one knows what tomorrow brings. Perhaps, when I retire, I might pursue a formal course of bible study. I’ve thought about that many times in the past. Once, back in the 1980’s, I registered at the Baltimore Bible Institute. However, I only attended class for about a week. In December, 2006, I went to Arlington Bible College and looked into trying to get another B.A. degree in Biblical Studies. It is possible I might attempt to take one class a semester until I retire.

I Am Thankful

Here’s one I just received from my Aunt Mary. It was so good I had to post it right away.
I am thankful:
For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight, because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.
For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the bars.
For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means she is at home,
Not on the streets.
For the taxes I pay because it means I am employed .
For the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine
Mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation .
For my huge heating bill becau se it means I am warm.
For the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.
For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I am alive.

When I Was Born Again

At age thirty-two I became born-again. It was then my wife asked me to help her with Sunday School. In fact, it was that project that lead me to Christ.
I began the project agnostic; but, over the course of about two months, found His way.
Carol had wanted a teaching tool to help the little child learn about Christ. However, she wanted something a bit different, but didn’t know what. At that time, I had recently stopped wedding photography. It seems I came home with a headache at the end of every wedding reception. The lowlight from dimly lit halls and the constant squinting to focus was wearing my eyes out. I finally gave up wedding photography as a part-time business in 1981.
About that time, I got my son interested in stamp collecting. As with Carol’s situation, I needed a subject to keep his interest. I turned to cartoon characters on stamps, generally Disney characters along with the other well knows like Bugs Bunny and many others. This type of stamp collecting was called ‘topical’ stamp collecting. Rather than collect one country’s stamps, you collected stamps (regardless of their country) according to the topic. This is also known as thematic collecting
The topical list is endless – railroads, airplanes, mountains, birds, space exploration (astronauts), specific sports, famous Masons, etc. Cartoon characters were the hot topic for youngsters. My son loved it.
When Carol brought up her idea, I remembered reading about the collectors of religion on stamps group. Theirs was a broad field encompassing thousands of stamps. Among the types of stamps would be stamps showings Popes, churches, famous paintings, angels, people mentioned in the bible, etc. However, I knew there were collectors of ‘The Life of Christ’ and began putting together a nice set of stamps.
A problem came about when it was time to put these stamps into an album. While you can go out and buy an album for U.S. stamps, you couldn’t for special topics. A U.S. Stamp album would be something like a coin album. You’d have a page with printed versions of the stamps on it. You’d put the stamp over the corresponding photo.
But with topical collecting, there was nothing like that. I was able to find some blank stamp pages. They merely had “The Life of Christ” at the top of each page with a decorative border.
My ‘fun’ project then became a huge challenge. I didn’t know the first thing about religion or the Life of Christ. I had never attended Sunday School or Church. I had never read the bible. My only exposure was in the early years of school before the atheists and liberals took over society and kicked God out of school. I can remember each morning when someone would lead the class in the 23rd Psalm and another would read any other Psalm they wanted. We would also sing a hymn.
I began reading the bible and watching religious TV shows. Putting together a nice bible library, I often visited Peter & John’s Trustworthy Bookstore on Liberty & Rolling Roads in Baltimore County. This bookstore was an extension of Arlington Baptist Church. While no longer there, it was my favorite bible bookstore. I began collecting bible commentaries and bible study aids. I also bought a few different study bibles with different translations.
My ‘fun’ project became hard (and expensive) work. For me to put together an album about the life of Christ, I needed to learn about Christ. Furthermore, just reading the bible didn’t answer all of my questions. While each Gospel tells their own story of Christ’s life, often I didn’t know the order in which events occurred. It was then I turned to another type of bible to put everything in the correct order (The Reese Chronological Bible). I also got a book detailing the ‘harmony’ of the Gospels, which fully told the life of Christ. However, even that wasn’t enough.
StationOfTheCrossStation06Veronica.jpgI discovered there were stamps depicting events in the life of Christ that I could not assign a proper scripture verse to. One such stamp showed a woman handing Jesus a handkerchief to wipe his face with. This stamp was one of the Stations of the Cross; yet, I could find no biblical reference to this event. I then became interested in what I later discovered was ‘Veronica’s Veil’. Here was an example of something in Jesus’ life that was certainly believed by some Christians, yet was not written about in the bible. While there are now different versions of the Stations, it was originally the sixth, tucked between Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross and Jesus falling for the second time.
I learned the events commonly referred to as the Stations of the Cross were more popular in some religions than in others. The Catholic Church holds the Stations of the Cross more dear to them than other Christian religions. It is also known by other names, such as ‘The Way Of The Cross’, ‘The Way Of Sorrows’, ‘Via Crucis’, or ‘Via Dolorosa’. It depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life and reminds us to commemorate his passion through devotion. The tradition began with St. Francis of Assisi as a chapel devotion and extended throughout the Catholic Church in the medieval period.
As you can see, my project became deeply rooted in research. Here I was, nearly a decade out of college, yet diving into research. I believe it was this stamp project and my study in the life of Christ that awoke my interest in research and writing.
Along the way, I learned about the bible, the life-and-death of Jesus, the different beliefs of various religions, and the history of the church.
Sadly, I did not keep up with my bible reading and research after the project was completed. However, the entire experience led me to Christ and gave me a respect for all Christian religions, regardless of their individual differences.

A Quick Observation

Now that I’ve turned my back on politics and am visiting religious websites, I’ve notice something that is rather disturbing.
With the political blogs and postings you could always count on two polar points of view. There would be a lot of yelling and screaming with a lot of insults, name calling, and foul language.
The same can be said of the religious blogs and discussion boards, generally minus the name calling and foul language.
Religion and politics are certainly high spirited areas of discussion. You might find it interesting to note that the discussion of either politics or religion is strictly forbidden within a Masonic Lodge.
Of course, many of the major wars were about religion.

YWCA – Off The Mark?

YWCA.jpgFirst, let me point out that I don’t want you to take this blog entry the wrong way. I know that the YWCA is a good organization, as is the YMCA. As a teenager I spent many hours at the Central Branch of the YMCA in downtown Baltimore, having a ‘student’ membership for several years.

It was a great place to go and work out in, before the day’s of the various health clubs. The central branch in Baltimore had a nice gym, indoor track, boxing/wrestling room, weight room, indoor pool and sauna.

I’m sure the YWCA is also a great place.

The other day when driving to the west side of Baltimore City, I passed the central branch of the YWCA. A banner hanging from the building caught my eye. It wasn’t exactly like the image that accompanies this blog entry, but the words ‘Fighting Racism’ was on the banner.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

However, I look at everything a little differently than most.

Since the YWCA stands for Young Womens Christian Association – I’m a little unsure why ‘racism’ is such a prominent theme on their banner.

Since it is a “Women’s” assocation, would a better banner read ‘Fight Sexism’? Or, wouldn’t something about fighting for women’s rights be headlined? Certainly, fighting against the battering of women would be appropriate.

Also, the word ‘Christian’ is in their title.

Wouldn’t something like ‘Fighting for Christians’, ‘Fighting For Biblical Rights’, or something like that be appropriate?

I quickly searched through several YWCA websites and did not see anything which promoted ‘Christianity’. Many organizations don’t promote Christianity; however, I would think if ‘Christian’ is in your title, your website would have that theme. It does not, which I find misleading.

Of course, the YWCA was organized in a different era. If they aren’t go to spearhead a battle to promote Christianity (as their title suggests), then they should drop the ‘Christian’ from their name.

E-mails Of Concerns

Over the past several days I have received several emails from friends and frequent visitors of this blog asking if I was OK.

Many people visit this blog on a regular basis to see what I was writting about, especially in the area of political and social events.

To give you an idea, one month last year I had over 1.2 million hits to this website.

I’m sure many people are disappointed to see that my usual style of hard hitting attacks against liberals has vanished from this site. Many are disappointed that I am no longer posting my ‘doctored up’ photos of liberals.

I want to assure everyone that I am fine. I have just made a decision to leave the political and social entries and writing to someone else.

My ‘free’ time has certainly shrunk over the last few months; replaced by more interaction with family.

My political and social views have not changed; I’m just not going to spend what little free time I have engaged in that activity any longer.

The little free time that I have will be spent on genealogy and bible study. I can’t continue to do that along with keeping up the previous type blog. There’s no time for writing the pieces I used to write. There’s no time to come up with the ideas and entries that I used to do.

While the previous blogging style drew a few laughs, a few hate emails, and tons of supportive emails; my previous writtings were quickly forgotten after a few days.

However, my bible study will help me forever; my genealogy research and writtings will be around for centuries and will help others interest in those family lines which I have researched.

In the long run, the bible study and genealogy research are positive activities; I really can’t say the same thing of my old style of writing.

Since I have less free time then before, I’m only going to concentrate on a very few areas.

I’m fine. I’m thinking much more clearly than I have over the last several months.

Over the next several weeks you will notice this blog change from a strictly bible and bible study blog to a more general type of blog. Bible and religion will be a category on this blog; but not the entire focus.

I’ll continue to make postings of a personal and family nature along with other type entries. From time to time I might even comment on political and social events; however, unlike the previous blog it will not be the sole purpose of the blog.

I’m doing well. I spent much of yesterday working on this blog to get it the way I wanted it. I also was able to get quite a bit of genealogy research done. It was a good day which ended in a very nice bull and oyster roast.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday – a meaningless day to me. It’s a day I can concentrate on getting some things done around the house. I’ll do a little bible study, but spend most of the day doing genealogy research.

I’m not a fan of football any longer. The new ‘thug’ type league is horrible. I can’t stand all of the grandstanding and endzone stupidity. Basketball is even worse. Few gentlemen remain in these two sports.