I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered a similar dilemma, but whenever I’d tell someone that I’m a Christian, I was always stymied when the other person would respond with, “I’m Catholic.” What do you say then? I think I’ve found the answer…
The problem lies with the fact that both the “Born Again” Christian and the Catholic have similar beliefs: One God who came to earth as a human, Jesus. Born of a virgin. Died to save sinners and rose again. So what’s the difference between the two? How can I share the Gospel with someone who thinks that he is already saved (and indeed some are)? I don’t want to get into an argument. Doctrinal debates can be confusing. And Pope jokes never work.
I tried something new with the teller at Wells Fargo. After exchanging a few pleasantries during a recent transaction, I asked Mario if he was a Christian.
“Oh good,” I said. (I was actually thinking, “Oh no. That’s the end of this conversation. What the heck can I say to this guy?) Then I asked, “What do you think is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?”
“Christians are mellower,” Mario replied, “And they don’t do certain things…”
“Well, they don’t party, get drunk…stuff like that.”
“Let me ask you another question,” I continued, “If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” (Catholics always give one of three answers: “I don’t know.” “Hell.” Or “Purgatory.”)
Mario’s answer was, ”I don’t know.”
“That’s the difference between a Catholic and a Christian, Mario. Christians know they are going to Heaven.” I then proceeded to tell him why.
A simple conversation. No mess. Respectable.
And no Pope jokes.