A blogger / singer / songwriter…

Blogger Singer Songwriter

This blog has just passed its 2nd month anniversary. It really seems much longer than that, in a good way! One of the unexpected blessings is meeting so many kind, supportive folks on-line. Some also have blogs.

Two people in particular were very helpful by introducing this blog to their own, well established readership. Julie Davis at Happy Catholic (Not always happy, but always happy to be Catholic) and Russ Rentler at Crossed the Tiber (An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism). Both Julie and Russ are converts themselves.

Russ offered to send me a CD of some music he made. I expected to receive a homemade CD with some heartfelt, but probably amateur tunes. What I got blew me away — a professionally published CD entitled Way to Emmaus. It turns out that Russ is an awesome singer / songwriter and this is his latest of several CDs.

You may remember that Emmaus was the destination of two disheartened disciples on the first Easter Sunday. Luke 24:13-35

The tracks are entitled Late I Have Loved You, Upsy Daisy Angel, Stained Glass Windows, Holy God, Nicean Blues, Whisper, Old Time Religion, Sing of Mary, The Offering, Room of Tears, Way to Emmaus, Untier of Knots and Jewel of the Caribbean.

They are all very nice, but two in particular are my favorites. First is Untier of Knots. In the early Church Mary was known as the “untier of knots.” In her obedience to God, Mary untied the knot of disobedience set by Eve. The song is a cross between the Hail Mary and Mariology 101. A sample:

The first Eve’s rebellion, led to the fall
The new Eve said yes, brought life to us all
You gave us Jesus, at fullness of time
Then He gave you to us, from the cross as He died

My second favorite song is Nicean Blues. It is a cross between the Nicean Creed and dispelling some common myths. Ornery but humorous!

I heard some people talking trash, about the Catholic Church
Listen to my story, learn from my research
It all got started, about 33 AD
When Jesus gave the keys to Peter and said keep an eye on things for Me
Rocky you’re gonna let me down and even fall into sin
But against this Church the gates of hell are never gone to win

The CD is available from CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes and better music outlets everywhere! It is inexpensive, so pick-up your copy and one for a friend.

Important Note: All proceeds from the sale of this CD go to the St. Simon and Jude Medical Clinic in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

The Catechism, the Catholic playbook

Catechism Catholic Playbook

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the primary reference guide for the Catholic faith (after the Bible, of course). The current version dates from 1985 through 1997 and is the first major update in 400 years. It is the first book I read when I became seriously interested in joining the Church. I read it daily for hours, over a period of 2 weeks, until I was done. At over 750 pages it is not a “quick read.”

Not everybody reads the Catechism from cover to cover, preferring instead to use it only as a reference text. It is certainly great for that, but I found it to be highly instructive as a book. I would get situated in my favorite reading chair, open it up and continue where I left off. Usually it was hard to “get into it,” at least for the first 15 minutes or so. After that it was increasingly engrossing and hard to put down! The Catechism not only presents Catholic beliefs but also explains why and gives generous biblical and other references. There is a summary In Brief recap after each topic.

As a reference guide, the Catechism is extremely well organized. It is divided into four parts:

  • The Profession of Faith – Revelation and a detailed examination of the Nicene Creed
  • The Celebration of the Christian Mystery – the liturgy and sacraments
  • Life in Christ – Christian morality, with emphasis on the Ten Commandments
  • Christian Prayer – communicating with God

Every paragraph is numbered (from 1 to 2865) and linked to related paragraphs elsewhere in the book by liberal references in the margin. External references to the Catechism are conventionally via these paragraph numbers (e.g. “CCC 1234”). There is a 16 page table of contents and a comprehensive 66 page subject index. The Catechism is translated into many languages and is widely available for under $10 in paperback.

The Catholic Church is quite large with over a billion members. To engage people across the world, the Church permits their inclusion of local traditions and customs that are consistent with the faith. For this and other reasons, local catechisms are permitted as long as they are fully consistent with the CCC. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is ours.

I purchased the US Catechism after I had already started the CCC. My plan was to read it also before I am received into the Church. Alas, I have run out of time. My new plan is to read it at a slower, more thoughtful pace throughout the year. It is organized similarly to the CCC and covers most of the same material but sometimes from a different perspective. Glancing through it I can see it is less suited as a reference (I have never seen it externally referred to), but it looks to be easier to read. I highly recommend that you read either the CCC or the US Catechism.

While not a replacement for the catechisms, the book Catholicism for Dummies is highly regarded. It is “only” 432 pages – easy to read and covers the faith well. One warning: do not confuse this book with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Catholicism that is not highly regarded and may be misleading.