In-Sight: Take A Closer Look

Not long ago, I was in a discussion with some seminary students.  One asked, “Why don’t the Roman Catholics have altar calls?”

Happily, I had already talked about this with my friend, John Michael Talbot.  When I raised a similar question with him, he smiled and said, “Oh, we have altar calls every day.  We call them the Mass.”

I’ve been thinking about this, especially as the Roman Catholic Church prepares to launch a new liturgy for the Mass—the first major revision in 40 years.

And you know what?  When you look at the liturgy of the Mass, it’s clear that it is an altar call—a call to give our lives to Christ.

The point I want to make is not exclusively in relation to that fact, but also in relation to the fact that we must “take a closer look” at traditions other than our own before we conclude they don’t have (or do have) something.  We cannot rush past any tradition and think we know it.  Nor can we ever defend our chosen tradition as being perfect.

One of the best ways to do this is by befriending Christians from other traditions, sharing with them, and learning from them.  By “taking a closer look” we may find that the distance between consecrated hearts is not as great as it first appeared.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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