I've generally never been shy about raising religious issues, even contentious ones, with friends of either a different Christian confession or religion, but I am a bit wary of doing so with two particular friends.
The first case involves a work colleague named Michael who will be undergoing a 'Rite of Election' at the end of March, and who hopes to be baptised in the Roman Catholic Church on Easter Sunday. Michael is an intelligent and sound-minded individual. His religious history is a bit of a mess. He was, for the majority of his youth, raised Pentecostal. However, his parents tend to switch denominations on a whim. His mother has chosen to remain Pentecostal at this stage. His father was drawn to the Baptist Church, but has since concluded that "all denominations are wrong." Mark's choice to convert to Roman Catholicism seems to have been more motivated by an instinct to settle down in something more "traditional." This move seems to be part and parcel of his general pursuit of life and character stability. Although very intelligent, his religious faith is quite simple. He seems to have had some intense religious experiences as a young youth which to him are irrefutable even if not rationally explainable. He seems to be very happy and at peace with the idea of being accepted into the Roman Catholic Church, and I am a bit wary of disturbing that given the point he is at in his life. He is aware of Orthodoxy, and slightly curious in that every now and then he will ask me about the Orthodox view of a particular teaching he has learnt during his catechism. I am not sure how or if I should take an active approach to Michael--boldly asking him to consider Orthodoxy as the fullness of truth before finally accepting RC'sm--or a passive approach--taking every opportunity he allows to discuss Orthodoxy with him and praying that by God's Grace his "slight curiosity" should develop into something more substantial. The issue that concerns me with the latter is time. Like I said, he is scheduled to be baptised this Easter.
The other case surrounds a long-time friend named Michelle. She was born Roman Catholic. Until about the age of 18 she had never taken her faith very seriously. After about the age of 18 she was dealing with some personal dramas in response to which I advised her to find consolation in God. She ran with this advice it seems, and found the experience positive. Since then she has been a very devoted member of her local parish and has joined a number of committees. She is very simple-minded when it comes to doctrinal matters, so our discussions on matters of faith, which she often initiates herself, are often more spiritual in nature. Lately she has found discontent with her church. She places a great deal of trust in me, and often seeks my advice. But her discontent moreso concerns her perceived religious laxity of the laity and clergy who attend her particular parish rather than anything pertinent to RC'sm in general. I am convinced that should I encourage her to involve herself in some of the meetings and services of my parish that she will feel a whole lot more comfortable and ultimately fall in love with the Orthodox experience. But I feel somewhat uneasy about this plan as if it is somewhat sly even if the intended end result is surely in her spiritual favour. On the other hand, I feel that she is a bit too fragile for me to say or do anything that would clearly convey to her that I am suggesting anything with respect to the nature of her RC faith in general.
I am looking to receive some food for thought as to how to deal with the above two situations to chew on before I raise my concerns with my spiritual counselor.