Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To Protect And To Defend

I stood in the snow last night and I couldn't feel my feet. Ironically, neuropathy is so painful yet it robs the body the ability to sense sensations.

So although I couldn't feel my foundation, I'm still aware of the standards I've chosen to defend. I stand for my standards.

I am a Roman Catholic.

My best friend is a Methodist. In my inner circle of friends:
one man is a Roman Catholic,
one man is a Lutheran,
one man belongs to the Covenant Church,
one man is agnostic,
one man is Jewish,
one woman is Baptist,
& one woman is Roman Catholic.

I have friends of every racial, financial, sexual, and educational background.
I have male friends.
I have female friends.
I have married friends.
I have single friends.
I have lesbian friends.
I have gay friends.
I have friends who are older than I am.
I have friends who are younger than I am.

I am not friends with children. Why would I be? Who would want to be?

No one has a greater variety of genuine friends than I do. Anyone who knows me, knows that.

I am a Roman Catholic. Anyone who knows me, knows that.

How do I maintain friendships with such an array of people? I do not push my theological beliefs on others.

Yeah. You think that's bullshit; you're wrong. I state my beliefs but I do not impose them. I say what I intend to do. I assert my convictions when my actions or reactions necessitate the declaration.

I do not tolerate insults, cruelty, betrayal, or deception. My friends feel safe and love in my presence. I require all my friends to adhere to the basic code of ethics: each man will be prized for his humanity and treated with dignity. God made all men; I require every human being I meet to honor that Parentage.

My friends meet that baseline; that's why they are my friends.

Yet I tolerate a surprising number of anti-Roman Catholic sentiment in my associations with acquaintances.

Never again. Never again will I tolerate anti-Roman Catholic bigots.

From this moment on I demand the same respect for my Faith that I'm required to give toward others' beliefs.

I will never again tolerate or associate with anyone who professes any anti-Roman Catholic sentiment in my presence.

I am drawing my line.

Either one believes in his beliefs or he does not.

I do.

I will never compromise or remain silent in the guise of civility again.

Yeah I know, I rarely did in my past.

I will be adamant in my presence.

No genuine friend would ask me to deny my God and grab my ankles for the sake of comedy or fraternity.

I have planted all 8 toes and I will not buckle when I'm kneed.

Mark R. Trost is a Roman Catholic.