The rift between Protestants and Roman Catholics continues to separate Christians from one another and to diminish our witness in the world. Words such as “heretic,” “apostate,” “idolater,” and “papist” have characterized much of the discussion over the last several centuries since the reformation. While changes in both groups over the last few decades have improved the tone of the discussion, much remains to be accomplished. Author Bob LaRochelle, as a former Roman Catholic and now a United Church of Christ minister, is well-equipped to guide us toward a more constructive relationship.
Crossing the Street speaks to the heart of the Energion Publications mission statement by advocating a “mainstream ecumenical center” in which Roman Catholics and Protestants can come to a deeper appreciation and understanding of the gifts they bring to one another. It demonstrates ways in which these traditions have misunderstood one another and even themselves, and then proposes strategies for both ecumenical cooperation and self-understanding.
This book is founded in a thorough understanding of both traditions and a commitment to ecumenical dialog and cooperation. It addresses both theory and practice. In a series of four chapters, it examines how we live in our own houses, the author’s own story, and then the gifts that each group offers the other.
Pastor and author, Rev. Dr. Robert LaRochelle invites us into his ministry as he shares his experience with some of the most difficult and troubling questions and thought provoking comments he has faced. Through a series of preachings and conversations held in his local church in Connecticut, this book came to be. Within the chapters, Pastor LaRochelle offers his own reflection on each question or statement. He then explains, explores and comments about the discussions that took place on each of these topics, discussions that were actually part of his church’s worship service that morning.
These are real life spiritual issues and take the reader on a journey through the insights of a pastor and congregation in real dialogue with one another. The reader is encouraged to engage in conversations on these issues in their own homes, faith communities, through social media and in the various contexts in which they live their lives. To this end, suggested discussion questions will be offered at the end of each chapter. Here are some of the kinds of questions and comments addressed in this helpful book:
- “Pastor, my wife is in the hospital and they think her cancer has spread. Will you keep us in your prayers?”
- “My 16 year old son says he does not believe in God and never will.”
- “I don’t think you need to go to church to be a good person. I will never raise my kids to go to church.”
- “Pastor, can you come and visit my dad? He is dying.”
- “I am just so thankful for all of my blessings!”
- “I know that when I die, I am going to heaven, where I will see all my loved ones who have died or will die someday.”
- “Some people say the church is a dying institution. What do you think, Pastor?”
This exciting book provides an in depth look at a pastor’s own self examination in the context of the real life struggles of a community of faith, a local church.