Earlier this year, the Catholic blogosphere was all a-twitter with the news that Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher had converted from the Catholic faith to Eastern Orthodoxy. Many self-made pundits questioned his motives, his sincerity, his good sense. Some might have even gone out on a limb and prayed for him and his family. The world may never know.
This past week, the coffee-and-donuts-hour at St Blog's has been buzzing with two conversion stories. Francis Beckwith, professor of philosophy at Baylor University, resigned as president of the Evangelical Theological Society, and shortly thereafter, announced his return to the Catholic faith of his youth. Meanwhile, former Lutheran pastor Bill Cork, of the weblog named (the last time we looked) Built On A Rock, found himself building on sand after several weeks of somewhat contentious entries -- to say nothing of high-handedness in his comments boxes -- only to return to the Seventh-Day Adventism of his youth.
There is already an interview with Beckwith in Christianity Today. If all goes according to plan (or at least the usual force of habit), his next stop is the Catholic radio yakkity-yak circuit. After that, the palace -- EWTN!!!
And he hasn't even written his book yet. There will be a book. Trust me.
There comes a point in any mass medium, when it ceases to be a means of passing along the news of the day, only to become pre-occupied with its inhabitants. This has already happened to the 24/7 news channels. It is good to rejoice with the Angels and Saints when a soul is brought into the Faith. But what of assigning motives to those who lose it? Faith is a gift from God, and the consistent teachings of the Magisterium of the Church notwithstanding, it is ultimately a matter between the man and his Maker. If solace can be found in the internal forum that is the confessional, so much the better. But alas, grace must build upon nature, and our human frailties only serve us to a point.
"I believe, O Lord; help my unbelief."