Monday, April 21, 2014

Unlikely Seeds

God is amazing. There, I said it. He can take tiny little offhand comments from someone with the absolute opposite of intentions and turn them into seeds for conversion, stored up for use when the soil is right. Here are some unlikely little seeds planted by unlikely people which ended up having quite an impact on me.

1. My boss's brother. My boss at my last job was a single divorcee in her 50s with no children. We all thought that her personality was quite grating at times. She did not particularly like dealing with children at work, and she was really sensitive to their noise. At some point she told me about her brother who had 8 kids. At the time I thought that was totally weird, but it stuck in my mind because, holy mackerel, 8 kids! I could tell that my boss disagreed with his decision to have 8 kids, but she clearly loved her brother. When she told me this information I was not a Christian, but when I finally did start flirting with the idea of Christianity I thought of this brother. He became this example of a Catholic that was actually living the church's teaching against contraception. I didn't think anyone lived that teaching. My mom's side is Catholic, but all of the women have tubal ligations and no more than three children apiece. By the time I quit that job the brother had 10 children.

2. An anti-Catholic Pentecostal minister's appeals to authority. When I started exploring Christianity I attended a certain church in my small town a few times. I liked the way this church was small, and the preacher preached with passion. Plus they uploaded sermons online for my leisurely listening pleasure. The odd thing about this church was that they called themselves "Apostolic" Pentecostals and did not believe in the Holy Trinity. They baptized in the name of Jesus only. The fact that these teachings were so wildly different from mainstream Christianity irked me and led me to consider the issue of authority in the church. Why should I trust this man's interpretations over the preacher down the street? He also frequently preached appeals to his own authority. That members should listen to him merely because he was the pastor of their church. During one sermon I heard him preaching against abortion, but "birth control is okay because it prevents the child but does not kill it." I thought, so that's your whole theology, huh? This does not ring true. I stopped listening to this preacher.

3. Anti-Catholic Tract. In my explorations of the above minister's website I came across some "apologetics" tracts that he wrote. One was a whopping 8 page monster of a tract which explored the ways that Catholic teachings clearly contradict Scripture. At first I took this to heart, but then I thought, "there has to be a reason why Catholics believe this." This led me to actually investigate from Catholic sources what the Church really believed. It made a whole lot of sense, I tell ya.

4. Texas Public Radio. And in the midst of all of these little things stewing, I was listening to NPR one day while I was baking bread. Kneading, to be exact. My hands were covered in the sticky dough when my NPR cut out and Guadalupe Radio cut in. My first thought was, "Oh, it's a church channel. Ok." But as I kept listening I discovered that it was a Catholic channel. My hands were too sticky to be messing around with the dial, so I just kept listening. That sealed it right there, from then on GRN became my go-to cooking station. And driving station. And breakfast taco eating station.

There were more seeds than this, too many to count. These were the unlikely ones which finally led me to walk through the doors one Sunday into a Catholic Church where you could actually feel the presence of God thick in the air like incense. I was where I was supposed to be, finally home.

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