Lee Whitlock

Dan, I go to the Abbey of Gethsemani quite often for a retreat. I talked to two of the monks out there each time I go. I finally asked one if it would be alright if I took communion with them. He said, “Yes.” I then asked, “Doesn’t church polity prohibit that?” He smiled and laughed just a little and said, “How are they to know.” He added, “Technically, you are to believe that the bread does turn into the body of Jesus and the wine into his blood.” I have since participated three times in communion with them.

Each Thursday, I meet with a Catholic lawyer here in my study. He wants to learn more about the Bible. The way we spend our two hours together is that I teach him out of our very good Sunday School book based on the Lectionary. It is always a lively discussion. My friend has an extraordinarily high IQ. When he first started coming, I felt intimidated. After awhile, I realized that I knew much more about the subject and felt less intimidated; however, as time goes on, he’s such a swift learner, I’m beginning to feel intimidated again. In the process, I’m learning more about the Catholic Church. We both have broken down walls to our faith approaches.

I also meet regularly with a Jewish woman who had already made up her mind that she wanted to be a Christian. After coming several months, she expressed a desire to be baptized. I made arrangements to get the church baptismal pool. For family reasons, she wanted it done in private. Weather and time got in the way with our first three times. Our pastor, Jason Crosby, preached a sermon on the Ethiopian Eunuch. Where did the pool deep enough come from to properly baptism him? That week, my Jewish friend asked, why can’t you just baptize me here? Well, why couldn’t I. I got a bowl of water, we prayed over it, and I baptized here here in my study! She and I study the Lectionary as well. She’s not quite as faithful as my lawyer friend.

I’d love to have those kinds of encounters with Buddhists, those of the Islamic faith, Seventh-Day Adventists, and other denominations and faiths.