A couple of interesting comments came up from my post last week. Some commenters felt pretty strongly that rather than admiring my friend's steadfast commitment to her faith, I should be trying to evangelise her and make her see the "error of her ways".
Religion has always fascinated me. There is nothing I love more than meeting someone of a different faith and delving into what they believe and how they celebrate. So when I get together with my friend the conversation almost always ends up (through my leading) being about faith and what we hold similiar and different. My friend visits the Morman Temple in Hamilton each school holidays and I'm often curious about what she does there and what it's like inside. She also often visits Salt Lake City and I'll ask her about that. Sometimes I ask her about pictures she has hanging in her house. For me it has the same kind of feeling as a history lesson, history also being an area I'm fascinated with. It's just interesting.
I think the reason that this has been an enduring friendship (of 13 years now) is that we both have equal respect and admiration for each other's faith. She doesn't try and evangelise me and I don't try and evangelise her. When I first met her I did worry that she might try and give me the hard-sell – Mormons are known for wanting to spread their faith and taking active steps to do so. But that has never been the case. She is equally interested in Catholicism as I am in LDS – she recently attended a Catholic wedding and had lots of questions for me about the church and the ceremony, all asked in a curious and respectful way. I have never said anything disrespectful or even doubting about her beliefs and she has never disrespected my beliefs or called them into question. It's a mutual thing.
The other thing is that having this friend in my life has, in many ways, deepened my faith. As much as we hold different, there are many things we hold in common – the strongest of which being our belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Bible as the Word of Life. My friend will often quote New Testament stories to me to help me with problems or issues I'm struggling with and I am able to do the same for her. She also encourages me to pray about things. It is nice to have a friend who I can speak with openly about what I believe.
So, I won't be trying to bring my friend to Catholicism. I will continue to live my life as a Catholic so that she (and everyone else I meet) can see the gift my faith is to me while respecting and yes, even admiring, her commitment and the way she lives her life.