I want to be more serious about my Catholic faith. Any book recommendations?
Chad Torgerson’s new book, Waking Up Catholic, is a great place to start. A convert from evangelicalism, Chad’s book Waking Up Catholic is written with an eye towards those who are being introduced or reintroduced to the Catholic faith. Chad writes in a non-threatening, conversational tone and avoids unnecessary jargon without compromising catechesis. Similar to Matthew Kelley’s Rediscovering Catholicism, I’ve already recommended this book to one friend and plan on recommending it to both seekers and those who are Catholic but want to do more than attend weekly Mass occasionally and shrug when asked tough questions about Catholicism.
My two favorite parts of Waking Up Catholic are near the beginning and end of the book. Togerson discusses the importance of understanding the authority question–what gives the Church the right to tell me what to do?–which was so fundamental to my conversion from evangelicalism and a question many cradle Catholics don’t adequately articulate. Near the end, Torgerson also discusses the importance of Catholics sharing their faith with others in a non-intimidating section with questions like, “Who should evangelize?” “Why should we evangelize?” and “How should we evangelize?”
I’ll close with one of my favorite passages from the book, where Chad addresses the problem of “labels” during the period of his life when he was new to evangelical Protestantism, years before his conversion to Catholicism. This passage certainly does not encapsulate the book, but I like his way of articulating the problems with “post-denominational” evangelicalism.
Have you ever been in a relationship without a label on it? Until you can call each other boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, husband, or wife, it is not really official. Somehow, without a label, it is just not real to us. So as a new Christian, the first question people asked me was, “What denomination are you?” To which I replied, “None. I’m just Christian.” Just Christian? In my mind, I did not want to be bound by thought of some group of old men and women deciding what I should believe or not believe. Belief, for me, was a personal choice, and the Bible was a matter of personal interpretation. I didn’t need anyone to tell me anything different, and that was that.
Even though I tried to avoid it, labels still followed me. Explaining my theological beliefs to people over and over again grew tiresome. In time, I began to tell people that I was non-denominational, but in the truest sense of the word, of course. While most non-denominational Christians begin to fall into this blurry line between what is and isn’t a denomination (do 40,000 people at a single Church become a denomination?), my beliefs, from my perspective, were purer than that. There was not a church or denomination on this entire planet that I “followed.” I may have attended certain churches, but I never followed. Looking back, I was kidding myself. While I thought that I was a Christian rebel, I believed in the same mainstream Christian philosophies as everyone else.
Read more of Chad’s story by checking out his book here