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Friday, April 09, 2010

Why I Love EWTN

My wife thinks that I am a closet Catholic. Over the years I've given her plenty of reason to think this:
- I love (LOVE) icons and crucixae.
- On family vacations we've been known to stop at Catholic shrines... Sorrowful Mother Shrine in northwest Ohio is a favorite and has yielded some wonderful (if not a little irreverent) pictures.
- I have a weakness for prayer books (although the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is my all time favorite).
- I own more rosaries than a Protestant ought to own.

BUT her biggest reason for thinking this is that I love (LOVE) EWTN. It used to be a treat when we'd visit my Mom in Findlay to be up early before everyone else to watch the Mass on EWTN (or to stay up late after everyone was in bed to watch the second 'encore' performance).

On vacations we'd stay in motels that had cable TV. (Until two months ago, we had only antenna broadcast TV.) Between trips in and out of the room, I could be caught catching the latest news on The World Over. Once Karen and I were babysitting our great nephews in Indianapolis while their Baptist parents were in Las Vegas watching Donny Osmond. For the boys' mid-afternoon nap, we watched Catholic cartoons.

I'm not really a closet Catholic. I have a very deep appreciation for Catholic spirituality and I think there's a lot we can learn from it. I respect their views on life issues, especially abortion and euthanasia, but I have issues with some little things: the Pope, for example, and purgatory.

My main reason for loving EWTN is because it just is what it is. It makes no pretense of being flashy or attractive or anything more than what it is: Catholic television.

Monks host talk shows. Nuns lead musical services. Mother Angelica leads chaplets and rosaries. Travel programs feature Catholic countries. Catholic movies made in Italy are shown dubbed in English.

It just is what it is.

That seems to me to be the biggest draw. It's actually my ideal for Church: Not to be Catholic but to be 'real'; To be who we are supposed to be and not to pretend to be something we're not.

Too often religious TV smacks of entertainment. It's all about the show, the 'pop', the act. They're trying to sell religion. And they beg for money. Beg. Ugh.

EWTN just shows Catholics doing what Catholics do.

I love EWTN because they aren't condescending about God. God doesn't need to be explained on EWTN, He is simply known and made known. They have programs that explain Catholicism, but Who God is is never doubted. Faith is a way of life for the folks on EWTN and there is simply no reason to doubt.

This is another ideal for Church, in my view. As a pastor I don't feel any compelling need to try to convince someone about God: He simply Is Who He Is and people can choose to believe in Him or not. I don't understand everything that happens in life or all the fine points of theology or why good people suffer or things like that. But I know God and love Him and I trust that He knows what's going on in life. He's never given me a reason to doubt.

Finally, I love EWTN because it is almost always positive. It is positive about its mission, it is positive about the Catholic Church, it is positive about living a life pleasing to God.

Much of life is not positive, and that often creeps into Churches. So many Protestants are into do's and don'ts, running down the government, alterior motives for giving, running down other Churches, Church marketing, and showmanship, it makes me sad.

Church ought to be life affirming, not just pro-life. The love of God takes us through dark times and the Church is a beacon of light, not a place for more shadows and more darkness. The Resurrection makes us participants in the new life of God; He lives and His Life lives in us.

I want to be positive about my faith. I want to be positive about my Church. And I try to be positive about living my life for God.

EWTN helps me do that.

Yes. Thanks, Mother Angelica (pictured above) for bringing EWTN to life. Even an old Protestant like me can grow in faith because of your efforts. :-)


Colleen said...

I am a Catholic - a convert actually. I really enjoyed your blog post here. And I so agree with you. "I know God and I love him and I trust him," too. And yes, Church should be life affirming. And that is why I became Catholic, that is what my Church does for me. This is where I found God. And I can imagine, your church does the same for your members, with a shepherd like you with your views of God and faith and church! May God bless you and your ministry!

Oumashta said...

This is a very interesting story indeed :D. Have you ever tried to find out more about what the Catholic Church teaches about Papal authority and Purgatory? A lot of our misunderstandings aren't as they seem to be.