By: Edwin Yip

I first heard the phrase ‘Get used to different’ from a friend while we were talking about interdenominational fellowship of Christians. Another friend asked me this question unexpectedly on a separate day. “What is the difference between Catholics and Christians?” I somewhat stumbled my answer as I began by trying to emphasise the fact that Catholics are Christians. I wanted to explain in brief the history that included the Council of Nicaea (325), the Great Schism that split Orthodox and Catholic (1054), and the Protestant Reformation (1500s). Which was not exactly what my non-Christian friend wanted to know. In the end, I settled for these four points in a roundabout way:

Catholic having a Pope (? they are more institutional/hierarchal)

Catholic having a stronger emphasis on honouring Mary the mother of Jesus (but not worshiping her like deity as some of my other friends mistakenly thought)

Catholic having more sacraments (Protestants normally only emphasised baptism and holy communion)

Catholic holding tradition as authority in the same regard as Scripture, while Protestants generally talk about Sola Scriptura (scripture alone). 

How accurate I am at describing some of the key differences I am not entirely sure, however, I am more inclined to stress our unity, especially to outsiders.

One of my patients is a retired Father (Catholic Priest) so I asked him the exact same question my friend asked me. This (in paraphrase) was his response.

Christianity is like a tree with many branches, the trunk is Catholic, and during so and so years, the different branches appear such as Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and so forth. We differ in how we practice our faith, but we worship the same Lord.

I generally considered all Christians regardless of their denominations as my brothers and sisters in Christ, though my Catholic friend prefers the description of us being cousins instead, which is probably a more apt illustration. In this adopted family of God, which will be filled with people from every nation (all tribes and languages), I do not really know much about the other churches. However, this does not alter our shared identities as children of God. 

I find out later that the phrase, ‘Get used to different’ comes from “The Chosen”, a multi-season series about the life of Christ that you can watch online or from the App, and it is free. If you have not heard of this series before, check it out at

Of course, I am using the phrase in a different context to “The Chosen.” Humans by nature are prideful and many of us have firm opinions on what we believe in. At the same time, we are often quick to judge others for being too dissimilar to us, especially those whom we think belong to the same family. To be human is to ‘get used to different.’ Let us pray for unity and not uniformity.

Published on CACC Newsletter Issue No. 18