Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mormon, Catholic, and Baptist -- Three Flavors in One!?

Rising Republican star Marco Rubio has another newsworthy credit.  He is religious diversity.  Baptized a Mormon, raised Roman Catholic, and often attending a Southern Baptist congregation, he has three diverse flavors all wrapped up into one faith.  It would seem the media has found perfect diversity in this one man.

The family left the Mormon church by the time Rubio was 12, according to Rubio’s office, and he received First Communion in the Catholic Church a year later. After returning to Miami, Rubio was confirmed, and he was married in the church.
But as he got older, Rubio started to attend Christ Fellowship in Miami, a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Though he had substantial debt, due to mortgages and student loans, Rubio gave about $50,000 to the church over a period of years last decade. He also gave to the Catholic Church, his office said.
In the 2002 Florida House Clerk’s Manual, Rubio described himself as Catholic. Two years later he listed himself as Baptist, then two years after that, he identified himself as Catholic.
“Around 2005 Marco began to return to his Catholic roots,” according to a time line provided by the senator’s office, which added, “He enjoys the sermons and the excellent children’s ministry at Christ Fellowship, and still attends often.”
In Washington, Rubio has said he attends daily Mass.
 I have no personal beef with Rubio.  My issue is that the complex religious diversity in so many reflects not clarity but confusion -- indeed, a mass of contradictions that are completely unresolvable.  Under any ordinary circumstances, I would expect Rubio to be baptized again upon entering the Roman Catholic Church and some measure of repudiation of the Mormon faith he knew.  The bio does not say he was baptized upon entering the Roman Catholic Church but, last time I checked, Mormon baptism was not acceptable to Rome -- though I might be wrong and often am.  While he may enjoy Southern Baptist sermons, I cannot image anything except the vaguest sermon topics that would not infringe upon Roman Catholic doctrine -- from decision theology to the missing means of grace (Sacraments) there is not a lot of love or commonality there.  Rubio does not have to answer to me but his bio raises the question of what such diversity means for the religious future of faith.

It seems to me that Rubio's history is pretty reflective of a whole lot of folks (especially those under 40) who go to Church but who do not see themselves as the Church, who dabble in doctrine the way you might stir in the various offerings at the Chinese Buffet (deciding which you want to plate up), and who find no contradiction in being attracted to diverse and contradictory things (in the guise of spirituality).

It is certainly truth of many folks I know who are Lutheran one place, Baptist another, Methodist another, and non-denominational another.  It all depends on how they feel, what they feel when they visit churches, and the feeling they get from those churches.  In other words, they generally seem themselves as aloof from the messy fray of doctrine and practice -- on the higher plane of spirit and truth.  In reality they are not Lutheran here, Baptist there, Methodist somewhere else, and non-denominational elsewhere.  They are mostly nothing at all.  It is not for lack of information on what those churches teach and confess.  It is because they do not give to doctrine much priority or much weight in deciding who they are.  They are who they are at the moment.  And that, my friends, IS the problem....

I do not seek denominational rigorists as much as I hope that people will choose a faith based on what that faith teaches, what it confesses publicly, and not how they feel or it feels to them at the moment...  While the muddle may not bother them so much, it will not give their children much to hold on to for the future.  We will end up with a nation of religious muggles who are really nothing at all except their own home brewed version of Christianity without all the stuffiness of belonging, confessing, or teaching.  And that, my friends, is NOT good for any of us...


Anonymous said...

The reason that Rubio will be the
vice president candidate with
Mitt Romney is that he is HISPANIC.
Religion has absolutely nothing to
do with his partnership with Mitt.

Janis Williams said...

Adventures in missing the point....

Anonymous said...

It is always difficult to discern when the MSM is writing about Christianity. It errs as much by what it does not say as by what it does say.

If Rubio was received into the Catholic Church from Mormonism he would indeed have been baptized since the RC does not recognize Mormon baptism as Trinitarian.

His potpourri approach to all three traditions seems to suggest another motive.