A Priest and a Minister Walk onto a Plane . . .
There I found myself—sitting on a plane between a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister, each eagerly speaking over me to the other in a conversation spanning various facets of theology and their modern-day application. Since the minister in question was my husband, I was more tolerant of this intrusion upon my solitude.
As Steve said, "We were one rabbi short of a joke there."
Steve and I were on our way to the NACC, a convention where people from the Restoration Movement (independent Christian churches and churches of Christ) gather from across the country to worship, encourage, and learn from one another. As we settled onto the plane, we watched people board and make their way down the aisle. One man about our age (who was a doppelgänger of Seth Rogan) happened to have on a priest collar and was making his way to our row. After some maneuvering and getting help from the flight attendant when his seat belt was jammed under the seat (she pulled up the seat cushion—those can be used as a flotation device!), the priest apologized for all the commotion next to me and introduced himself to the two of us. Steve admitted his ordained minister status in the exchange, and the priest's eyes lit up. There was not a moment of silence from that moment onward. I sat back and listened.
The priest's enthusiasm was palpable as he asked Steve's Protestant perspective on various forms of religious thought and practice. He was also excited about his recent return from Rome, where he lived just outside of Vatican City. He is another year from full ordination. What a fascinating story he has—he had worked as a lawyer and was engaged to be married at age 27 when he felt called to leave it all to become a priest. Everything about his life changed.
Devotion to God comes in many forms, and having grown up Protestant myself, I haven't interacted with many priests. This man's entire life and religious practices are different than my own. Yet his love of God was winsome and contagious. As unexpected as the situation was, and as over-my-head their conversation got at some points, I am thankful for the experience. It's yet another reminder I've had lately of how much more we have in common with people than we have differences.
Photo of Notre Dame by my amazing husband, Steve Carr @2017