Wednesday, July 5

Dear Jim,

It’s been a great day. I got lots of things done and paced myself well.

This morning I went to a park to study Spanish. Now I’m in a different park in the evening to tell you about what happened this morning.

I was sitting studying a Spanish phrase book when two young religious guys said hello to me as they approached. They wore white shirts and ties and each young man had a denominational ID with his last name on it.

I said to myself “Oh shit!”, then politely told them I’m Catholic and don’t want to talk. I forget what the lead guy said but it wasn’t confrontational or corny. They asked me if I believed in Jesus Christ. I said I believe in God the Father and the Holy Spirit. I said Jesus was a smart ass, no wonder they killed him.

The two young guys were surprised. They wanted to hear more. I said he loved to piss off the elders and attorneys. Every time I read the gospels I cringe – This guy’s obnoxious, always imposing himself on people.

One of them said, “Give me an example.”

“When they went to the other side of the lake they ran into the nutcase in the graveyard. Jesus almost met his match. He had to touch the guy twice to get rid of his demons.
“But he cast the demons into a herd of pigs. Then the pigs ran off the cliff into the water and drowned. The villagers came and told Jesus to get his ass out of there and not come back.
“Jesus destroyed part of the village food supply just to show how powerful he was.”

They let me roll.

I said I love the Old Testament and Acts. “You mean Acts of the Apostles?”

“Yeah. The apostles were like young guys who just discovered the truth and put their hearts and souls into preaching it.
“They pussed out when they were in the garden, but after Jesus died they had great courage. Peter stood up and let the words come to him just like Jesus said they would.”

Then they said something about Jesus and the gospels and I said that I can’t stand John, where Jesus says that you know the Father through me and me through the father. I said that I don’t want to hear that crap. If I want philosophy I’ll read philosophy.

They never interrupted me.

I said, “It’s scary. I love God, but if you take the New Testament seriously, you have to wonder about Jesus. You have to doubt.”

They agreed. One of them said yeah, but Jesus is the spark, the connection. He connects us to God. That’s why we have faith in him.

I told them about being Catholic, how I hate having political opinions presented to me at Mass, that the people at Mass are there for psychological purposes, not because they love God.

They knew what I meant. They said the focus of their church is to help each other get closer to God.

I said it’s hard. They said yes it is hard.

One of them saw the title of my book then said, “Are you mastering Spanish? My colleague speaks Spanish.” So we spoke in Spanish.

It was time to go. I said, “You guys know how to listen. You didn’t interrupt me.”

We shook hands. Then, like Mexicans do, it took a while to say goodbye. We shook hands two more times.

You have to admire guys like that Jim. I don’t have the courage to approach people to become Catholics. I told the young guys that Catholics do not have the confidence to do what those two do.

It’s a shitty time to be Catholic. But those guys have me thinking about trying to go back.

I’ll write again.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko