Category Archives: Catholic Convert
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We have a special guest tonight on Tactical Catholic Podcast. Who is it? A Bird told me our guest is an artist, a convert, and I can’t tell you everything. Come on over tonight at 9pm central.
St Polycarp, picture of true Catholic manliness, pray for us!
I love St Polycarp. This courageous Bishop of Smyrna (present day Izmir, Turkey) led his flock with grace and integrity. He taught them to hold fast to the Faith, particularly to the Eucharist. This disciple of John led by example, even unto his martyrdom.
I encourage you to read his letters. They are a major reason I am Catholic today. St Polycarp showed me the first century Church that we see blossoming in the book of Acts. He made me question my presuppositions regarding authority, worship, and sacraments.
His greatest lesson to me, however, is his resilience. Polycarp, at age 86, would not give in to the smallest concession to the false gods of the Roman Empjre. No, he stood strong, facing their threats with gusto, and even a little “ain’t skeert” swagger. Read the accounts of his martyrdom.
St Polycarp, you are the man. Thank you for opening my eyes to see the Church you love so much and our heavenly feast in the Eucharist. Pray for us.
In Episode 009, we will lift the veil of mystery surrounding the RCIA.
- What is RCIA?
- What is it not?
- How should a parish run their RCIA?
- How does someone join the Catholic Church?
- Who came up with the RCIA acronym?
Tonight, join us as we talk about the RCIA, the absurdity of relativism, how we can help our friends into the Catholic Church, and how real evangelization works. It all starts LIVE at 9pm central time at Fiat Ministry Network.
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More and more parishes are seeing the benefits of engaging a year round RCIA, but some pastors are hesitant. They pause because they likely have never seen it in action. What does a year round RCIA look like? Read the rest of this entry
I found this great article from June that gives updated statistics on the rise of Converts in TN, particularly the eastern side of the state. You can read it at.
You all know that I have appointed myself President of the newly established Southern Catholic Convention. That means I get to wear a sash, top hat, and monocle around town. It also means I have to bring deviled eggs to the annual covered dish fellowship.
As President of the SCC, I am glad to see the Volunteer State rise in conversions to the Catholic Faith. When my wife and I entered the Church in 2002, Tennessee had about 3% of its population claiming to be Catholic. Now it is a whopping 8%. You’re welcome, South!
I know marriage is a big reason many consider the Church, but in the end there has to be more to it than that. What I see during the course of RCIA is that the folks coming go through a formation and conversion much greater than picking another checkbox on a survey. They are being formed in faith as Catholics if the RCIA is worth its salt.
The common reason people consider Catholic Christianity is because they see sonething in the faith life of a Catholic, whether they read it in a blog, see it in a tv show, or see it in person through a spouse, coworker, or friend. Something they see makes them hungry to know more.
So I ask you, my Catholic brethren, what do people notice when they see you? What stands out? Can they see the Sacraments at work? It’s something to consider.
If you’re coming to the Southern Catholic Convention covered dish, please let me know what you are bringing. There is only so much room for green bean casserole.
In my previous article, I mentioned the need for forthrightness and honesty when it comes to sharing the faith. The focus was personal transparency. We must show the lived reality of Christ in our lives if we expect others to take it seriously. We are not salesmen, we are evangelists!
But wait, there’s more!
We have to have full disclosure of the Gospel itself.
We must present the fullness of the Gospel. There is no sense in presenting part of the truth and hiding the less savory parts. What do I mean?
I could go on for a long time on the specifics, but let me summarize a couple of critical points. If you are a child of God, you should know that by virtue of your baptism into Christ’s death that you are DEAD to sin and its power. That means that you should be choosing to do good and not giving in to temptation as you formerly did. What’s more, you are called to perfection. Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Now, you could pretend that sin is somehow redefined once you become a Christian, but you’d be lying. Sin is very real and the temptations will increase if they do anything. So what’s the man of God to do? He must daily put on the armor of God and choose virtue over sin and against the world. Let me tell you, it’s hard work and the more temptation you allow yourself to be subject to, the more tired you’ll be. The good part of this story is that, like a good coach, God has given you everything you need to overcome the temptation and avoid sin. BUT, it’s not passive. You must choose and you must walk in holiness. We don’t hear that often do we? We hear about mercy and forgiveness, and we need that, but we also need to keep ourselves pure. After all, we are called to total union with God and what relation does God have with sin? Read your catechism and your Bible for details. This article is focused on the reality for total disclosure.
What else is part of the Faith? Love. Real love is at the core of who we are as Christians. Real love is sacrifice and that means we choose the good of another over our own good. This is most perfectly expressed in marriage. In matrimony, the husband completely lays down his life for his wife, and she completely lays down her life for her husband. This is done in spite of feelings, appearances, circumstances, finances, self-justification, etc. That kind of living takes courage, because we want things for ourselves. Total self-giving love, folks, is difficult. Need a quick example? Sex. The marital embrace is not designed for pleasure. It is pleasurable to be sure, but its design is for unity and procreation. Any attempt to remove one or both purposes turns sex into a mutual masturbation session, in which spouses use one another for physical pleasure. Grossed out? You should be. Sex is beautiful and the natural products of the marital embrace are unity and procreation. That means we should not be surprised when new life comes from our union. That was God’s plan. To say “we don’t want kids” or “we want to _____ before we think about kids” betrays a lack of understanding of what marriage is about. Sacrifice for the good of another. We sacrifice our vacations, our plans, our hobbies, our whatever for the good of someone we might not even see for 9 months. If you’re not ready for life, you’re not ready to get married. If you think you wanna get married and then spend all your time away from your kid(s), you’re gonna pay for that later and you won’t like the way the bill comes. Love is sacrifice. A good premarital counselor will start there and not with curtain color or “compatibility” tests. A good counselor will have the balls to say “You’re not ready and I won’t marry you until you are.”
By the way, you’ll never be prepared for every eventuality of this life, especially marriage, but when you make those vows, man you are agreeing to lay down everything for this woman. It’s not a permit for sex, it’s a beginning of total self giving on a whole new level. In fact, the self giving should be evident long before rings are bought.
But I’m not talking about marriage either. Hmm. Good articles for later. Boy howdy, have I learned a lot the hard way.
So guys, when we share Jesus, we have to be forthright and disclose the reality that Christians are a persecuted people, a people who love fiercely, a people who stand for what’s right even when others do not. We have always stood in contrast against the ways of this world. The Christian life is difficult and very often devoid of emotional “consoltations”. However, in the Christian life we are given LIFE by the God who made us. We are given GRACE to strengthen us to do the things we must do. We are given FORGIVENESS and MERCY to pick us back up when we fall. We have HOPE in a future of eternity with God. We have a FAMILY that spans human history through the CHURCH here on earth and in Heaven.
You can share all of this. You can share your struggles. You can share your victories. You WILL share Jesus one way or another. Like Jesus’ challenge in the sermon on the mount, “Let your light shine before men IN SUCH A WAY that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
I spent 10 years in the pulpit as a Southern Baptist minister, and I loved every minute of it. Whether it was youth, young adults, small or large congregation, I loved standing before them as a preacher and catechist.
Because each time I did, I stood there not to increase my fame or wealth or power, but to guide others. I was a poor beggar myself, coming back with joy to share with others the food I had been given. It was a great honor to stand in that classroom or auditorium and beg others to taste and see how great is the power of God for our lives.
I miss having that audience. I miss the travel. I miss meeting new faces. But that was then. Sometimes when I am feeling sorry for myself I long for those days. It was so much fun, none but other ministry converts could probably appreciate the feeling.
But things are different now, right?
Yes and no.
I still have the opportunity to teach and speak as a catechist and public speaker. However, those opportunities are less frequent than when I did it full-time. Still, I get a real thrill getting to speak to others and share the beauty of our faith. Most especially, I love getting men worked up about being men, chosen by God and given a purpose. I love challenging them to get off their butts and invest themselves in the sacramental life.
I am still a beggar, coming with joy to tell others about the food I have found. This time, I have found the living bread, which gives us life and unites us with one another and our Maker. Christ is the Eucharist, His body, blood, soul, and divinity. Apart from the life giving Eucharist we are missing so much. The sacraments, most especially Eucharist and Reconcilliation have changed my life. I will never be the same.
So, yes. I miss being a preacher, but I do not regret my choice to become Catholic. In this Church, founded by Christ and built upon the Apostles and their successors, I have new life. In the sacraments I have all I need to sustain and strengthen me in my relationship to Christ and my fellow man. I cannot imagine my life apart from Christ and His Church, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
Welcome to my visitors from The Catholic Channel. I enjoyed our time together. Stick around and join the conversation by commenting on a post.
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Have a blessed day, y’all.