Off the Wall, September 21, 2017

It’s been said time and time again, life is a journey. Talk to the man on the street and there will be no denying of that. What stirs me, so to speak, is that very few people make note and keep a journal of their past that could be used for future reference. Do you suppose the word journal was a takeoff from the word journey?

Now, without looking it up and also telling someone else this is where the word got its name and letting it go at that, there might be some people who would fall for that just because they think I’m in the know and do a lot of writing.

When I don’t have an answer to my own questions, I usually “Google” it knowing I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

The writer who explained the difference between those two words is a Professor Mongar and his explanation titled, Journal Guidelines, written in spring of 2005 spelled out the difference this way:

“The words ‘journal’ and ‘journey’ are derived from the same root, the French word, ‘jour,’ which means ‘day.’ The original function of a journal was to record day-to-day living which often included business transactions, weather, nature and travel observations births, deaths, etc. Later, as the ‘age of enlightenment’ emerged and more and more people had access to education, journals became much more self-conscious, including personal commentary and reflection on social and political issues, events, feelings, and ideas.”

So, as I see it, there was a commonality (ewe…that’s a neat word) between journal and journey. Chalk up one for me.

But not everybody gets it when they tell people they fall under one classification when in fact they are in another.

I was talking to a woman on the telephone the other day and we happened to get on the subject of evangelization. As much of you know, I like to go about anywhere I roam and ask my favorite three-liner – “Are you a Christian?” If one responds to the affirmative, I give each a plastic envelope containing morning, daily and evening prayers. If the response is to the negative, I hand a plastic, see-through bag containing seven cards. Some people have responded by stating, “Catholic” as I wrote in a previous column.

I told her the magazine I was renewing was fantabulous. I then told her how I evangelize, as stated above, and she made a statement that literally swept me off my feet (which isn’t hard to do to a guy who has neuropathy).

“I’m a Catholic, not a Christian!” I felt weightless as though the late afternoon breezes had swept me up and off from my black leather chair throughout the cramped space of my bedroom.

Her vocal outbursts seemed to intensify. “Christians don’t believe that the Body and Blood of our Lord is the Actual Species, but Catholic do. We have a whole ‘nother Bible than Christians do. Yes, sir, I am definitely a Catholic and not a Christian!”

Well, she emphatically told me! Can one sight the problem here? I think it’s rather simple, in my opinion. A matter of fact, even an atheist can get this one, I believe. Catholics are a community of Christians.

A matter of fact as Deacon Michael Orange related to me, concerning Christians, “The Catholic Church is the true Church and all the other churches are denominations.”

Boy, did I learn something. Here was another notation I have entered into my journal as I make my way forward along the paths of my journey of life.

Where she is a little mixed up is that she is confusing the word “Christian” with “Protestant.” As a convert to Catholicism, I can identify with all she is relating. Somewhere along the line she became misled when, possibly, as a child she was told she was Catholic, but did not relate the term, ‘Christianity,’ to her faith.

Could it be that television might have had something to do with it? After all, there are far more Protestant evangelists on the tube (if that’s what they still call it) throughout the week as opposed to those who represent the Catholic Church.

Protestant Christians promote the importance of being born again. If she took the word, “Protestant” off the beginning of the sentence, I can see where she might think, they are different than her faith’s leaning.

It doesn’t make sense either way, if you ask me, however. Both are rooted equally and led accordingly.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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