When I first began teaching right out of college in 2013, I worked a low-paying teaching job with two classes , morning and evening. Thankfully, it was all for public service.
While at this organization, I had a coworker who occasionally gave me rides to our weekly Friday meeting at home office. On our commute, we would chat about many things such as politics, our passionate social causes , and Christianity. At the time, I was a very strong Protestant, so in our conversations I managed to sneak in small bits about my beliefs.
Apparently, she must’ve been a Catholic because one day she said “I have a book I want to give you” and I gladly accepted her gift. To my surprise, it was a book called Answering A Fundamentalist. Essentially, it’s a introductory book on answering objections from Protestants. Initially, I didn’t pay attention to it. I read the table of contents, and figured she was trying to persuade me away from my beliefs, but I accepted her gift because she was a very kind-hearted person. I Wasn’t offended at all.
Anyways, I glanced over the book many times and didn’t pay attention to the proofs. I didn’t receive an “aha” lightbulb moment for many years after I received the book. Occasionally in my spiritual studying, I’d read the book and glance through chapters that had similarities to beliefs I was familiar with in my faith tradition. At times, I’d read the other chapters about , let’s say, the Magisterium and wouldn’t be convinced. Similarly, I did this with the catechism I purchased in the fall of 2014 too. Picked the portions I knew were essential to the faith, and ignored or attempted to read the ones that were foreign to me.
Fast forward to now
When I look back at the title of the book, I kind of giggle a bit. Considering what I know how a fundamentalist is portrayed by a few Catholics, I ask myself “was I really like that to her?” It’s funny to reflect and poke fun at yourself from time to time.
When I reflect back on the last 4.5 years I can definitely see this book was the first encounter with Catholicism I had. I appreciate it’s simplicity and concise answers with not a lot of technically advanced scholarship. The average chapter is 9-10 (some shorter) pages unlike many books I own that are 20-30 pages that deal with Catholic apologetics. This book managed to capture all their heavy information while using economy of language (a term we use in teaching that means use fewer words to get across clarity in your message). Accessible for beginners, but not rudimentary for those that are well learned or advanced in the faith.
This book is very sentimental to me. It was a gift, but most importantly an invitation to experience God in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. No greater love than that which seeks the best for another. Now, I read it from time to time and always find something more interesting than the last time.
What a great earthly gift, with an eternal reward, and a divine invitation to fellowship.