I had forgotten something about Long Island. Whenever you order an espresso from a restaurant or homegrown cafe, it is served with a wedge of lemon peel. You run the peel around the edge of your cup so that when you take a sip, a hint of its flavor follows the coffee into your mouth.
In a sense, Long Islanders are like their espresso. Their colorful personality and vitality punctuates everything they do. Last night was no exception.
What can I say? Last night’s seminar at Northport Baptist Church was one of the most wonderful occasions of ministry that I have had with Holy Ground. It wasn’t the church’s beautiful facilities, the enormous turnout, or the fantastic pastoral staff that made it so—although all of these were true in spades; it was the quality of conversation that unfolded in the Q&A session and discussions that followed.
This is the reason why I wrote Holy Ground, to help families navigate through the relational difficulties that often arise along the Catholic/Protestant fault line: children disowned for having left their Catholic background, husbands whose (Catholic) wives refuse to allow their children to attend his Protestant church, alienation, contention, and misunderstanding with one’s extended family. These situations, and others like them, were represented in full force.
Another unique feature of last night was the considerable number of Catholics who were present, thanks to Northport Baptist’s great job of promoting the event. This always makes for a better seminar as I get to model the grace/truth balance in response to serious and sometimes impassioned questions. Along this line, I received the best piece of feedback that I have heard to date. When the seminar was all said and done, a tough looking paisano approached me and said, “Tonight I brought three strongly conservative Catholic friends. They are wound tight and were ready for a debate. However, they found your approach so disarming, even though you continually preached the gospel and didn’t pull punches, that they listened intently for the entire session and left asking if we could continue the conversation.” I dare say, I can’t ask for a better outcome than this. Thanks for your prayers.
Thanks so much Chris! (I was sitting next to your mom & your sister). I did not arrive home until 10 pm .. long day.. I just had to, atleast, begin to read your book.. I learned so much of how to “witness” to my Catholic family.. 100 or so.. from your seminar and now Holy Ground. Blessings in the Name of Jesus, Jane (I am a Christian been attending SGT for 10 years and currently NBC (close to my children).. I live in Southold/east-end).. My mom was saved at a Charistmatic R.C.church.. First one in a super-large Italian family.. now half are saved through her witnessing. Mother Teresa in 1977 prayed over my dad(a “tough” Sicilian) saying “Jesus is using me to come unto you”.. I saw him two days later and he was glowing, completely transformed, definately a “new creature in Christ”.. I was not a Christian in 1977 but it was so apparent that my Dad was redeemed.. a miracle. I am now witnessing to the other half of the family.. Once again.. thank you.. for writing “Holy Ground”..
Thanks Jane! It was a pleasure to meet you at Northport Baptist. What a great time. May God’s richest blessings be upon you and your ministry, even among our dear Catholic friends and loved ones. Yours, Chris
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