Sleepy Emus and Apologetics

The urgency to write, I find, comes and goes.

This weekend I feel very calm. While the rest of the world is “going for gold”, eating chicken sandwiches, or blowing people up, I’m sitting quietly.

It’s warm and sunny and I’m watching the cobwebs. It’s not at all the sort of weather I can bring myself to care about much, and since I’ve written the first part of my conversion story, I don’t know how to go on. I thought the first bit would be the hardest. It’s easily the most emotional. But that’s just made it even more necessary to spit it out.

Now, I just feel numb. And calm. And deliciously sleepy.

Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, The Sleep of the Infant Jesus, c. 1625 (Louvre, Paris)

But now I need to come to the arguments, the rock-hard, sharp-edged arguments and… I got nothing. Not because I have no reasons but because I can’t seem to put them together. I don’t know if it’s sleepy me or this slippery Church, but I can’t get a handle on Her.

If I try to begin with the Sacraments, those sacred conduits of heavenly Grace, Authority waddles on over and taps me on the shoulder. “What’s the point of talking about Sacraments without me, eh? No one will listen to you anyway.” So then I try with Authority but he says he can’t begin with his friend Tradition. But of course Tradition demurs. “Oh I couldn’t possibly talk about myself. You want to go sit with the Saints. They are the best teachers around these parts, dearie.” So I go looking for the Saints but they’re hiding out with the Sacraments, who are miffed that I bypassed them in the first place. But still, they think I should probably see old man Magisterium before I go any further.

At this point I get frustrated, throw a book or two across the room, and wonder why it is all so complicated.

Why isn’t there one argument that can clinch the thing? One simple, straight-forward bible text? You know, the Gospel according to St Thingabob, where in Chapter 8, Jesus says “Verily, I say unto thee, when thou argues for the faith, thou shall simply point to the presence of this fluffy emu and the golden egg. And behold, all shall see thy reasonableness and agree with thee and also think thou art quite nice person too.”

Alas, it doesn’t work like that. There’s no special emu, no indisputable sign from Heaven or unassailable logical proof.

Someone asks me, “why are you Catholic?” And I can’t explain it. At least not nearly as well as I’d like: not decisively or brilliantly. I can circle around the reasons: Apostolic Succession, the Sacraments, History and the Mass but I can’t quite get a handle on it all.

I feel incapable of representing this ancient institution or, more importantly, this Ancient of Days. There’s just me, on a warm Saturday afternoon, watching cobwebs and burying my head in the sand.

I think I’ll have a nap now.


14 responses to “Sleepy Emus and Apologetics

  1. How I sympathise 🙂 I hope you got the nap and a nice sleep with it.

    I guess there is no ‘knock down’ argument so that each of us can wrestle with these questions ourself? In the end, it is a conjunction of things, I think, rather than one big thing – kind of like, well, if the Pope is who he claims to be, why aren’t I in his Church? Now yes, folk can argue till the cows come home about whether he is – but if you accept he is, then everything follows from that; and vice-versa – which is the annoying part. Thanks for this xx

  2. There really isn’t a one word answer, that’s one of the reasons I believe it to be true, God is so complex, man is simple in comparison. It’s because His Church is not simple that, I know for sure, it’s not man made 🙂 ps I nominated you for the “Reader Appreciation Blog Award” as I have really enjoyed reading your blog these last few weeks!

    • Haha, that’s a great response! If it was from God, I couldn’t understand it anyway. 🙂

      And thank you so much for the award! Wow, I feel very special and loved. 😀 I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading. I’ve also been enjoying your blog – and I love your name, Seeking Pemberley! I assume you’re quite the P&P fan?

  3. The emu thing had me cracking up.

    If someone were to ask me why I choose the Catholic Church, I’d simply say, “What else is there?” Though there’s a lot of meaning for me packed into it 🙂

    I think you should take an approach as to how Chesterton did. He didn’t set up some fancy argument for Christianity as an end-all be-all. He argued for what convinced him from all the little steps. Those little steps eventually become gradations and soon towering mountains.

    • Hmm, I’d love to hear all the meaning and reasons packed into “What else is there?” Also, you’re not a convert are you? Would love to hear more of your journey either way. 🙂

      I like the comparision to Chesterton too! You’re right that he never has one single, brilliant knock-out argument. He just gently, calmly (and hilariously!) tills the soil. He really gets under your skin.

      Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  4. God is a mystery, and the Catholic Church in its fullness is closer to God and full of more mystery. It’s hard to explain for a reason. Maybe if you found one sentence as a springboard. I always point to the commissioning of Peter as the Rock and the start of the church that hell would not prevail against. Why is this true? Because Jesus said so.

    • Thanks for commenting! That does make sense. I don’t expect God to be perfectly explicable so why should His Church be any different?

      But thinking of it as a springboard is helpful too. It reminds I don’t need to have all the answers, just somewhere to start! And you’re so right, the Church is only – and can only – be true insofar as Jesus is. Good thing He is the Truth! 🙂

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