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Sunday, May 1, 2011

It Sounds Scandalous, But it's Not...But it's Still Good


In Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor by Allen Hunt, we see the story of the 15 year conversion process of the author, a former Methodist Pastor at a church of 15,000 in Atlanta to a member of the Catholic Church. This is one of the books that I picked up at the Matthew Kelly conference in February, and I'm glad I did.
Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor by Allen R. Hunt: Book Cover
I'm not going to sugar coat it...the biggest reason I became Catholic 8 years ago was because my wife and son were Catholic. We had another baby on the way, so I figured it was time to convert. I wasn't that serious about my Lutheran faith anyway...I think we all go through that in our 20's. At least most of us. Over time, I've come to feel at home in the Catholic church, and I really believe it is the best place for me to grow in my faith and become the person I should be. However, having rather shallow reasons, initially, for converting, I always like to hear conversion stories of people who genuinely discerned the will of God in their life and came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is home.

This is one of those stories. Allen Hunt masterfully mixes storytelling, with a little bit of apologetics, and a whole lot of appreciation for the "Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church." Hunt describes the Catholic Church as an "old house", and walks through the rooms of the "old house" to discover that it had everything he needed all along. I expected chapters on Mary, Papal Infallibility, Purgatory and Praying to Saints, which are the 4 areas that Protestants get hung up on. Instead, I got an entire book devoted to the Eucharist, the Holiness of the Church, it's Authority and it's teaching, along with some discussion of the problems with having 33,000 different types of Protestant faiths. This was definitely a surprise, but as Hunt put it, (I'm paraphrasing) 'once you've come to realize that the Church is right about the big things, everything else falls into place.' Not what I expected, but also so much more than I expected.
I really enjoyed this book.  I felt bad that the process of conversion for Allen Hunt was painful because of his leadership role in the Methodist Church, but I'm very thankful he is finally happy in his faith life.  The subtitle of this book is "How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church".  The treasures Hunt discovers are what I feel are some of the most beautiful aspects of the Catholic faith--the Eucharist, the authority of apostolic succession, the definite stance of the church, and its unity.  Practicing Catholics will find a book revering the wonders of their faith, Catholics who have fallen away will be reminded of what they may have forgotten, and non-Catholics will find some wonders of the Catholic faith they can at least appreciate and hopefully find meaningful in their faith life.  This book is a fast read, so you really should give it a try.
(I do want to express my annoyance with the publisher of this book.  This may sound hypocritical since my own posts have many typos and errors since I usually write them very late at night--such is the life a home schooling mom, but unlike the publisher, I am not charging people money for a blog assumed to be a finished product.  There are fairly frequent typos and errors including too many spaces between some words and forgotten letters.  In one sentence, 1 Timothy is written even though the author was obviously referring to 1 Corinthians.  These types of errors in books really bother me.  But I don't want to leave this on a negative note because the author has truly written a very good book that is definitely worth reading and discussing.)

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