Sun 19 Feb 2006
For my first visit I chose to attend the Allison United Methodist Church.
I am a Roman Catholic, at least born and raised so. I have attended Catholic Affiliated schools up until last year. Thus I have read the bible many times, and listened to sermons about its meaning for years. Consequently I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know about Jesus Christ and his message. Not to build myself up to an image I will fail to meet, I am not currently practicing and religion is not a huge part of my life.
However I have recently made a friend who is a practicing Methodist and for whom religion is a large part of her life. I, assuming that all Christian faiths were pretty much the same would engage in conversations with her regarding Methodism tragically unprepared. Apparently there are more differences between Catholicism and Methodism than I care to think about. Just for example she stated that she believed all sins were equal, a belief that came into conflict with my understanding of Mortal and Venial sins, one that after several thought experiments proved to be a little harder to stomach than I had anticipated.
For this reason I was even more inclined to make the Methodist Church my first visit. The fact that it was on campus also played no small role. The mass seemed to be very similar to was I was used to at home at Catholic ceremonies but with a few pivotal differences. Such as: at this particular service it was led by a pastor and not by a priest, also they did not make the sign of the cross like I did at home, nor did they kneel at certain points during the mass like most Catholics do.
However, aside from the superficial differences there were deeper contrasts. I felt that during the mass there was a much larger emphasis on the word of the bible than tradition, the opposite of what I feel when I am at a Catholic Mass. It has always been a qualm that I have with the Catholic Church and something that I appreciated seeing in the Methodists. Times change and Im glad to see that faiths can adapt. Granted, the Catholic Church is much older than the Methodist Church and consequently would have a hard time shifting its practices in any direction. I was also glad to enlighten myself to the fact that just because Jesus Christ is a shared aspect of two religions the interpretations and the applications of his message can be quite different, Im sure it saved me many embarrassing social moments.