“I didn’t get to ask too many questions,” Ron resumed. “But from what I was told and could otherwise figure out, they are cobbling together a thorough bio on you that will be passed on to someone in the Vatican this week. Sounded like tomorrow.”
Stephen paused to mull this over. What’s the deal? “So, what did you tell them?”
Tom jumped in, looking at McDermott, “That he’s a follower of that mad monk, Luther, and believes the pope is the anti-christ, right?”
“Still not helping,” said McDermott.
“Yea, I know, but I’m amusing myself.” He smirked and took a sip from his Coca-Cola.
McDermott looked Stephen in the eyes. “It would probably be easier to go over what we failed to cover. We talked about your views on the Reformation; the Catholic Church; old line Protestants; evangelicals; Holy Scripture; the Eucharist; the liturgy; the current challenges facing the church in the U.S. and around the globe; the strengths, weaknesses and role of Lutheranism today; and even church music. A good chunk, though, was focused on the relationship between Christian denominations, including your take on the old ecumenical movement and the New Ecumenism among traditionalists.”
“So, what did you tell them?” Stephen pressed anxiously.
“What did I tell them? I don’t have another three hours to spare, my friend.”
“Come on, Ron.”
“I told them exactly what I’ve come to learn and respect about you, Stephen, over the past four years. I know your theology well, so no worries. I explained that you view the Reformation as a necessary evil. That you fall onto the Catholic rather than the Protestant side of Lutheranism. That you view Lutheranism as a reform movement, rather than a new church. That you’re traditional when it comes to the Bible, worship and the culture. That you see a great opportunity for Lutheranism as a kind of bridge between Catholics and Protestants, but are frustrated by the internal squabbling among your fellow Lutherans. At the same time, though, I made clear that you’re not a Lutheran on the verge of heading to Rome. And I highlighted your strong belief that traditional Christians, no matter their denomination or individual church, must become more unified in confronting the many challenges that Christianity faces and will face in the twenty-first century.” McDermott paused for a sip of iced tea. “How’d I do?”
Stephen felt more at ease. “Fine, of course. Thanks Ron, and I apologize if I came across a bit edgy.”
“Don’t worry about it. This is all a mystery.”
“And as Captain Kirk once said, mysteries give me a bellyache,” Stone added, shoveling a large forkful of cole slaw into his mouth.
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