Okay. My holocaust theology class. It’s…well…interesting. I like it. I really do. But…well…interesting. Usually I don’t have any idea what the reading was even about by the time other students have stopped talking nonsense about trees and marriage covenants and those damn Danes and LOOK I GET IT OKAY THE POLISH GENERALLY WEREN’T SO NICE TO THE JEWS BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I’M POLISH YOU CRAZY OLD LADY AND CATHOLIC TOO AND I WOULD HAVE HARBORED SOME POOR JEW SO SHUT THE FRICK UP.
But today? Today really topped them all.
In an effort to make us all more comfortable with each other (Because
the Christians some of us are feeling a little bit, oh, unqualified to pass judgement on post-Holocaust theology in the face of some woman who was probably there screeching at me about the damn Polish. Oh, I’m sorry. That got personal.), we did “speed dating” today. We met with four other people for five minutes and, if we were comfortable, had frank discussions about our faith backgrounds and any disagreements we’ve have with either our own churches or others about faith.
My first three went really well. Nice (wicked hot) non-denominational guy, cutest little perky agnostic you ever did see, and a really quiet and less wicked hot but at least not pissy lapsed Catholic. We talked, laughed about the absurdity of arguing about religion, and generally had a good time.
Then I got to number four.
Wait. Number Four needs a preface. I walked into class today and sat down in my usual seat and began talking to my very good friend. This little blond girl on my left starts talking to me. I don’t know this little blond girl. In fact, I don’t really even recognize her from class. But whatever, she’s friendly. Asking about my brother who shadowed me on Tuesday, telling me she’s unhappy as a chem major, inadvertently calling me old and you know what, cookie pie? 22 is not that old.
Anyway. It was a little weird. But maybe she has some social issues and who am I to judge? Whatever, class is starting.
Except wait! Guess who Number Four is?
So we go through the whole introductory thingy. We’re both Catholic. This is going to be pretty easy.
Then we get to the disagreements part. She asks me if I have any. I reply,
“No, not really. I mean, there are things that I wouldn’t be upset if they changed. Like ordaining women. I don’t really have a problem with that except that it weirds me out. But I also don’t have a problem that they don’t now.”
I’ve barely finished my sentence and she jumps in,
“Have you ever read the Bible?”
“Um. Yes. Actually.”
“Because I just read somewhere that it says in the Bible that women can’t teach men. And once I read that, well, it’s in the Bible!”
“Um…okay. Yeah. But…um. That’s not really the justification, it’s the Apostles…you know what? Do you have any disagreements?”
“Well, I think some of the things aren’t really scripturally based. I mean, like Communion. I don’t know how you feel about it.”
“Communion? I don’t really know what you’re asking.”
I’m thinking, okay, she’s clearly pretty conservative. She’s got to be way pre-Vatican II and against receiving under both species or something. No. It’s weirder. She gives this huge sigh and says,
“It was supposed to be symbolic. I mean, Jesus said ‘Do this in remembrance.” But some people actually believe that that’s his body and blood. It’s such a misinterpretation. Do you?”
Is 12:45 too early to start drinking? Because you’re willing to take St. Paul literally but not the gospels? Seriously?
“Um…the Catholic Church actually teaches that it’s not a misinterpretation at all. And that it actually is. And that before he said that he said, ‘this is my body; this is my blood.’ So…um…yes. I do.”
“Oh. *huge compassionate sigh directed at me* Well, it’s such a touchy subject.”
No it’s not. Look, kid, I don’t care what you believe. We just have to get through two and a half more minutes of this and then I can go back to safely staring at the back of Paul Joseph’s head while he spews some nonsense.
Can’t get much worse, right? WRONG. She literally leans across her desk so her face is really, really close to mine and says,
“Do you know if you’re saved?”
“Do you know if you’re saved?”
“I don’t…I believe that I can’t really know. I do know that I try to lead a good life…”
“Because you know that Jesus died for your sins and all you have to do is believe that and you will be saved.”
There is so not enough upper level credit in the world.
“Well…see…um…I mean, I do believe that…but I also believe, and so does the Catholic Church, by the way, that you need to be a good person and accept grace and…”
The crazy person cuts me off again, this time rather accusingly,
“Do you believe in confessing?”
Now she’s pissing me off.
“I believe in the sacrament of reconciliation, if that’s what you’re asking.”
No, I don’t go often. But that’s just because I refuse to confess to anyone who has access to my Facebook page.
“Do you honestly believe that God is going to send you to hell if you die without confessing?”
Oh, my Lord. Look, sweetie. I am in between tests. I have a twenty-page paper to write and a thesis to finish and I feel like someone is attacking my abdomen with a flaming melon baller and I am so not in the mood to engage in apologetics with SOMEONE THAT IS THE SAME RELIGION AS ME.
“I don’t think God plays games like that. But if you’re asking if I agree with the validity of the sacrament of reconciliation, then yes, I do.”
“Oh. *her fourth sigh in as many minutes* It’s a touchy subject.”
It was. So. Weird.
I was homeschooled, okay? I went to a Lutheran college. I’ve had people try to convert me before. But no one has ever tried to save me from believing the central tenets of the faith that we both profess before.
I kind of don’t want to go back on Tuesday.