The Skeptic

I’ve never been an atheist. But I’ve certainly been a skeptic, especially when it comes to the Catholic Church.

I went to Catholic school up to 8th grade before transitioning to a public high school. It gave me a foundation, but I didn’t own my faith. Religion was just another class, like science or math or history. And mass? Mass was a very, very boring weekly obligation.

My relationship with and love for Jesus finally came alive after attending a TEC retreat when I was nineteen years old. It changed my life. 

I became sold out for Jesus— probably annoyingly so to my family in those early days — but I remained skeptical of His Church.

Kim and I were often depressed by the lack of vitality in our local parishes and longed for the energy that we often saw in the communities of our Protestant brothers and sisters. We thought long and hard about whether or not the Catholic Church was for us.

So many aspects of it didn’t make sense. It felt like there was too much pomp and circumstance. Too many made-up rules that I couldn’t find in the Bible. Too much pharisaical hypocrisy everywhere I looked.

Kim’s parents always had Catholic newspapers lying around. Whenever I’d visit while we were dating, I’d eagerly flip to the section where a priest would answer questions from readers. I poured over the responses with a fine-toothed comb, astutely looking for examples of naiveté, falsehoods, and superstitions not based on truth.

I saw myself as an intelligent skeptic. I was merely an arrogant fool. I thought I knew better than two thousand years worth of men and women significantly smarter than me.

Thanks be to God that He was patient with me. As I kept asking, seeking, and knocking, God graced me with humility. I stopped looking for examples that confirmed what I already believed and instead opened my heart to the truth. 

Slowly but surely, the door to a magnificent vault overflowing with treasure began to open.

I came to understand that too often, the representatives of the Church weren’t doing a very good job of explaining or modeling her teaching. As Bishop Fulton Sheen suggested thousands of people disagree with what they think the Church teaches, but less than a hundred disagree with what it actually teaches. I began to see that when I dug into the actual WHAT and WHY behind what the Church taught, I never came away unsatisfied. Time and time again, the answers I received led me to exclaim, “How cool is that?!”

I am like a little kid seeing the world with new eyes in wonder.

In my travels as a speaker, I encountered many different parish communities overflowing with life and energy. I began to appreciate just how big of an umbrella the Catholic Church is, with room for a rich variety of personalities and worship styles, but all unified in Christ.

While I can’t help by roll my eyes when I think about my smug, cynical, younger self, I now appreciate how important that stage was. The seeds of faith that are scattered in our hearts can grow quickly, but without a solid root system, will die out just as quickly. I needed to make my faith my own, to develop my roots which, like anything that lasts, comes forth from struggle. 

I have nowhere near all the answers. There are still parts of Church teaching that remain mysterious and difficult to comprehend. There are plenty of Judases who betray Christ with their words and actions. But I have come to trust and treasure the two thousand years of wisdom that has accumulated since Jesus founded His Church through His apostles, and in the Holy Spirit that still breathes life within it. 

The rabbit hole is deep. It can also be overwhelming, but it never ceases to amaze me. Part of the reason I co-created this website was to share the exciting discoveries I’ve made in the decades since embracing my faith. I continue to discover new connections that blow my mind, learn about new saints that challenge me to grow in virtue, and receive answers to holy mysteries that help me fall in love with Jesus — and His Church — even more deeply.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. It’s an honor to have you here!


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