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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Common Ground Wednesday w/ Rev. Dr. Reid Thomas

 The purpose of Common Ground Wednesdays is to highlight the fraternal bond we share as Catholics and evangelicals, and the mutual blessings we have to share with each other, which also being honest--and charitable--about our legitimate differences. As Blessed John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint (That They May be One), "Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas. In some way it is always an exchange of gifts."
  Today's guest is Rev. Dr. Reid Thomas, pastor of Lifebridge Church (Nazarene) here in Lexington (click here to learn more about the Nazarene denomination). Reid has a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. In fact, I got to know Reid as a fellow student at Asbury a little over 20 years ago, and while time, distance, and busyness interrupted our friendship, we've enjoyed renewing it through these regular conversations when he is a guest on the show. 
   A proud native of Philadelphia, PA, Reid and his wife Amy are the parents of two teenage children, Nathan and Hannah. Reid also teaches classes at Indiana Wesleyan University and the Bluegrass United Academic Center, while also spending time futilely looking for a good cheese steak.
   He's begun preaching a series entitled, "The Whole Bible for a Whole Life," in which he's taking a major section of the Bible (this Sunday is the Pentateuch) and placing it within the larger picture of the salvation story. 
   We'll be discussing that on the show Wednesday, as well as this article from the ecumenical journal Touchstone that notes the implications of the demise of the word "fornication" in our cultural language.
   Another goal of these Common Ground Wednesdays is to help dispel the misconceptions Catholics and evangelicals often have of each other. As a former evangelical Protestant, I know well the misconceptions I often had of Catholics--not necessarily hateful bigotry, just a perception that Catholics didn't take their faith that seriously, that they emphasized rule-following over relational intimacy with Christ, that they lived in perpetual insecurity regarding their salvation which they were trying to earn, etc. 
   Now, as a Catholic, I've seen how misconceptions go the other way. We Catholics can sometimes carry ourselves with a triumphalist smugness that assumes evangelicals are all immature in their faith, that they stress experience to the detriment of theology, that their worship is all about entertainment, etc. 
   And while misconceptions and stereotypes don't come from nowhere--in other words, you can certainly find examples that confirm the stereotypes, on both sides--the truth is we are too quick to judge the intentions of those who are not like us, and what's more, we often compare our tradition's best with the other tradition's worst. 
   One thing I can say with confidence about the guests we have on Common Ground Wednesday is that these are passionate Protestant Christians who desire to love Christ with their whole heart and to live their faith to the fullest to God's glory and for the salvation of the world. It's an honor to share the hour with them.

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