"I don't know if you can be Catholic and be saved... I'm still figuring that out," cried one of my Catholic friends during our team worship night in Nicaragua.
When she first made the statement, my defenses went up. I'm not Catholic, but I have a lot of friends and family who are Catholics. Of course you can be Catholic and be saved.
Throughout the rest of the week, God let me see the plight that literally brought her to tears before us in a moment of transparency.
We walked into Central American cathedrals and my heart broke due to the distorted Jesus so many people have been taught.
The man huddled in the corner fervently praying to the painting of a deceased bishop.
The woman filling the offering box with Cordobas as if she could buy forgiveness.
The crowds ritually progressing through the streets holding a crucifix high in the air.
Jesus still on the cross.
As we walked through those decorated cathedrals, I found myself praying for the lost within the sanctuary. I wanted to stay and minister there rather than be a tourist.
It wasn't the label "Catholic" that bothered me. It was the un-biblically based Jesus. The Jesus represented is not the Jesus I know. That's what broke my heart. The desire to earn forgiveness and eternal life doesn't take into account for grace and mercy. The lack of understanding that Jesus is accessible to each and everyone of us, made me sad.
I'm not bashing Catholicism, I promise. I'm bashing the missing of Jesus that we are all guilty of. We get caught up in talking about homosexuality, abortion, and divorce rather than showing and teaching the love Jesus was adamant about.
We can call ourselves Christians and not know Christ. Worship can be a weekly event we attend out of habit not a lifestyle we lead.
Yes, you can be Catholic and be saved. But going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the race track makes you a race car driver... going to a ballet makes you a ballerina...
The Christ I know is more than a character in a big book. He's more than a man who did some really nice things.
He's God and man. He lived by example, practiced what He preached, and gave the ultimate sacrifice. And He calls us to do the same.
Do you agree?
Then show it. Not in my comments section but today on the road, in the classroom, in the cafeteria, and at the store. Let's redefine Christianity.
It starts with me.