Monday, March 3, 2008

...Not that Converting Is Bad

A few posts down there is a quote regarding how often Americans change religion, and an implication that this is negative. It certainly can be. Especially when you see serial religionists, those who are continually dissatisfied. As Dixie suggested, perhaps Burger King is influencing their behavior too much.

But in general, I have always praised converting on this blog. When your beliefs and practices have changed, converting is simply the only honest option. Too many in my denomination have changed their belief and practice and have not left, with the result that the body itself is changing to match them. I have always praised my friends Fr. John Fenton and Fr. Gregory Hogg (and others known and unknown) who have shown integrity by following their convictions with action. Their decisions were not easy, but they had the courage and opportunity to make them.

That we have the ability to do this is a blessing. That many in our society exercise this blessing frequently is not for their spiritual good, though. May God delay quick conversion!

Update
It has troubled me in the past when LCMS pastors have been excoriated--often behind their backs--for leaving our confession. Often the argument compared them to adulterers. They forget that our founder was excommunicated for being unfaithful, and encouraged everyone to leave their vows and be like him.

9 comments :

  1. Doorman-Priest said...

    "In general I have always praised converting"

    Good I'm thinking of heading to Islam.

  2. Christopher D. Hall said...

    And Doorman gets the Pitchfork Award for quoting out of context! :)

  3. Dixie said...

    May God delay quick conversion!

    Amen to that!

    BTW...I am thinking about your comment to my post on suffering. I need to review the chapters again and see if and how he takes this up...I surely don't want to misrepresent his thoughts on the matter. But for now...I have work that must be done. Maybe tomorrow night I'll have some time.

  4. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    It is far better to convert than to become a hypocrite - and I say that even if someone is converting to a position or belief I think is wrong. We can't go putting on a show - that's not right at all.

  5. Doorman-Priest said...

    Is it really converting, though, or more of a change of emphasis or style? I wouldn't consider a move from Anglicanism to Lutheranism a conversion.

    Actually, if I had to be something else it would be Buddhist. Sorry to my Muslim friends.

  6. Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

    Pr. Hall,

    Since you mentioned me in this post, I hope you don't mind my commenting.

    After I had announced my intentions, but before I left, one of my dear members said, "Pastor, stay with us; just ignore the Synod and what's going on." I replied, "If I stayed, knowing what I do, I would die inside and be of no further use to you anyway."

    The cost of leaving was security, stability, and the esteem of colleagues--all of whom are good and fine men. It was infinitely cheaper than the cost of staying.

  7. -C said...

    "... converting is simply the only honest option."

    Yes, I've said this before. While converting was a difficult thing for me to do, it was, I think, the most honest thing I ever did.

  8. orrologion said...

    I always thought that the adulterer was the 'whore' that stayed in his ministerial role 'for the paycheck' rather than following conscience. To me, it shows a total lack of the faith they claim to be preaching and confessing; Fr. Gregory's comment seems to match this intimation well.

    Thank you for the comment regarding Luther's own 'adultery'. From the eternal POV, we'll all see who was right and who was wrong, but in this fallen world with our befuddled and scum-stained eyes, all we can do is disagree with a person's decision, share our thoughts, pray, and respect them for still having a conscience and will at all.

  9. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Doorman: at least here in America, we use the verb "convert" to mean not just changing religions, but also changing denominations.

    And IMO, it's not a bad usage. While, to use your example, Lutherans and Anglicans both confess the Nicene Creed, there are some fundamental differences that necessitate us not worshiping together. Were it just a matter of "style," then we should invoke the Rodney King Subroutine and just merge.