In the middle of May this year, I traveled to Ohio to appear on The Journey Home program.
This was rather exciting for me since I have watched this show on EWTN for the last 24 years and before I officially became Catholic. I had even seen the show live where Mother Angelica rather sandbagged Marcus Grodi about doing a show such as this. It was not a request he was expecting. In this show, men and women from varied Christian (and even non-Christian) backgrounds are interviewed about their journey into the Church. I have always loved this show learning about the people interviewed and their various stories: the commonalities and the differences of each unique conversion story.
I have also seen many friends and acquaintances of mine interviewed on the show and daydreamed about being on the show myself.
So when Matt Swaim contacted me about being on the show, there was no hesitation to my affirmation. Matt is a cohost on the Son Rise Morning Show and Outreach Manager for the Coming Home Network. I knew a bit about Matt since for quite a while as we had traded bad puns on Twitter. I had also heard him regularly on Gary Michuta’s Hands on Apologetics Podcast. I also had read his conversion story in My Name Is Lazarus: 34 Stories of Converts Whose Path to Rome Was Paved by G. K. Chesterton.
It was an absolute pleasure that on the day I flew in to have dinner with him and the extended talks we had as we drove back and forth from the location of the Coming Home Network where their studio is. It was rather cool to find out he had been reading my blog when he was still a Protestant. There was a period on my way into the Church where I had restricted myself to Christian music only – but not really the top-of-the-charts CCM stuff. I knew from our Twitter conversations we had some of the same tastes in these lesser-known bands. To discover that as a bassist in his Christian Punk Rock Group that he had opened up for some of my favorite obscure bands was delightful. Or that we had scoured the same [webzine][jm] looking for such bands. This would have been a great trip just for the conversations we had.
They go a long way to not inconvenience their guests. You are flown in the day before and tape the program the following day. After lunch, it was back to the airport to go home. So the experience goes by all too quickly. I would have loved to be able to have spent more time hanging out with the staff. The staff lunch only whetted my appetite for intelligent and fun conversation. Before the taping, at least I had an excellent talk with Bill Bateson, their Studio Manager. I would have loved to have done the same with everyone there. That conversation also turned to music and the similar tastes we have. I got to hear a little of his story into the Church.
The actual taping of the show is recorded without edits. Marcus Grodi interviewed me knowing little about me other than that I was a former atheist. Since the show is taped ahead of time it will be a couple of months before it airs on EWTN. The interview itself is kind of a blur to me now. Especially leading up to this, I had been accessing my own story and the fact that we hardly know ourselves. That often we learn about ourselves and our motivations later on. So this had given me some opportunity to think through some of this with now two decades past since entering the Church. Very bittersweet thinking about my late wife’s role in my conversion and just how much of an arrogant jerk I was (well still working on this). How my worldview and actions had poisoned so much. It is painful looking at the reality of this.
Right now, I am not all that confident in how the actual interview went. Having introvert tendencies, I can at times switch into performance mode. It is certainly not unknown for introverts to also be class clowns, as I was. So I hope it comes across more like a conversation as we talked. I also have a pretty good vocabulary. It is just that apparently I don’t have access to it when writing or talking. It just returns in hindsight. I hope it comes across how much I love the faith and that this is a well of mystery that will never dry up for me.
Before and after the recording, I had been praying that God could use this even if what I said was only helpful for one person. I learned while there that the impact of the program could also be years later in reruns. I have to constantly fight the temptation to making everything “all about me” as my various insecurities come forth and seek to rule me. So, of course, I write a post all about me and my appearance.
St. John the Baptist pray for me that I might decrease and that Jesus increase in me.