I almost titled this post "Neither Non Nor Wayward ~ and not a Brother, Either" ~ but that would have meant toppling right into the trap laid for me.
Frequent readers of my blog know that I spend a considerable amount of time crossing worlds, especially Catholic and Protestant worlds. I like it that way. There's no question in my mind that I am called to the Christian faith, Protestant dimension, and that I am called to ordained ministry in that context, but I am most appreciative of the first 1500 years of Christianity and of the many gifts of contemporary Catholic faith, and also very much called to practice much of my faith life as taught and encouraged by Ignatius of Loyola, a Catholic if ever there was one. It's not always easy and I often bump up against difficult inconsistencies, but there's that whole "my ways are not your ways" thing, so I live with it. Contentedly.
Some time ago it dawned on me (slowly, yes; I'm extremely slow about certain things) that Catholics and Protestants alike often refer to Protestants as "nonCatholics." As soon as I realized it, I stopped doing it. Why would I want to self-identify, or identify others, as something I or they are not? It seems to me that the preface "non" implies a certain degree of either diminishment or exclusion with respect to the noun in question.
(Interestingly, in my days as a teacher in an Orthodox Jewish day school, I was most often identified as a "Christian." Clearly I was not of the majority there, but in general Jews seem content to identify others as who we are. They don't resort to the term "nonJews.")
A few days ago, there was a debate over at The Deacon's Bench over whether or not Catholic priests should bless children during the Eucharist. It seems that there are a great many rules and opinions about blessings and about children of which I was unaware but hey, this is their argument, not mine. I still don't know much about it, having just stopped by on a friend's recommendation (?) this morning and skimmed the post ~ and the 150+ comments!
But there it was, that term "nonCatholic." Suddenly I felt . . . hmmm . . . extremely irritated. Moreso when I read another comment to the effect that many Protestant churches do not welcome children. Excuse me?
And then, the grand piece de resistance: the referral to "wayward brethren."
I am Protestant. I am steadfast in my faith, which has not been a matter of smooth sailing for me. And I am female. I am delighted to be all of those things.
So, please. Do not refer to me as one of your nonCatholic wayward brethren. (I don't think I've ever done the reverse, by the way. Some real bloopers have come out of my mouth, but "nonProtestant wayward brethren" is not one of them. John Calvin et al. said some bad, bad stuff about the Catholic Church, but we are, thankfully, no longer in the 16th century.)
Protestant. Steadfast, focused, and on track. Female.
Please use correct terminology.
That's all I ask.
That's all I ask.