Today, I have the enormous privilege of interviewing this crazy kid. He’s a Catholic husband, dad of three, unironic hipster blogger, Catechism-wielding Youth Minister and he’s just launched my new favourite website: Reverb Culture.
This is him.
In ten words or less, who are you and what are you about?
I’m Edmund and I’m about Jesus.
What does a “normal” day look like for Edmund?
Well I’m a youth minister, husband, and father of three…so having the word “normal” in quotes is appropriate because it is normal for my day to be absolutely chaotic.
I live in Toledo about five minutes from the Church I work at, so it is normal right now for me to be plowing through snow drifts. Every day I try to pray with the Bible and the Catechism. Sometime during each week I will definitely be in a coffee shop on a laptop listening to random music and either writing, reading, or designing.
Ooh, what are you listening to at the moment?
Delta Spirit, Noah Gundersen, The Lone Bellow, Judah and the Lion, Apache Relay, Of Monsters and Men, Kings Kaleidoscope and for Lent The Brilliance’s Lent Album.
How did you end up passionately Catholic?
I don’t know that I’m there yet, but I was blessed with great parents and great friends my whole life who all pointed me to Jesus and who all live passionately for Him and others. Going to Franciscan University Steubenville probably made everything a little more intense. No it definitely did. I’m still recovering. But seriously, it’s a great school.
And you said you have three kids? Names and ages? :)
In a few months Ignatius will be two and Dominic will be one. Then in a few more months our third child will be born in September.
What’s the best thing about being a dad?
The best thing about being a Dad is knowing you know nothing about being a Dad, while your children know nothing about being a person. Every day is mutual discovery and seeing the world and yourself in the pure eyes and honest love of your own kids is probably one of life’s most rewarding adventures. We are a small, miniature Church trying to sanctify every moment and live radiant faith through this adventure.
In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example … the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation. (CCC #1656)
Woah, someone just quoted the Catechism — which brings us back to Reverb Culture. What’s it all about?
The simple idea of Reverb Culture is this: let’s go back to echoing, reverberating, the Faith in its purest form (as handed down to us through the Bible and the Catechism) and build a culture founded directly on the Sacred doctrines and dogmas of the Church. Let’s be soaked in Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition like good Catholics should.
Benedict said someone reading the Catechism needs the “interior teacher”, the Holy Spirit, and an “exterior teacher” or someone to break it open and make it more accessible. Lastly he said the Catechism needs a “community of disciples”, a context within which the Catechism is lived out. I hope Reverb Culture would be a place to find all three.
What gave you the idea for Reverb Culture?
Reverb Culture is a half thought out hunch. The more I read what people were saying about the Catechism, and then read the catechism itself, the more I felt this lurking hunch that there is more we could be doing with it. And as Catholics if we want to evangelize or be a saint or get to heaven or love Jesus more we need to read the Bible and we need to get more in touch with the Faith Jesus left us and the tradition of this Deposit of Faith handed on throughout history.
I think giving modern young adults an example of a life and culture built directly on the pillars of the Faith is a great way to evangelize. Only when the Immaculate Conception informs the way I live will it seem attractive for people to consent to this truth. Reverb Culture is an attempt to return to the actual sources of our Faith, the Faith itself.
Who do you want to get involved in Reverb Culture?
I want young adults who are jaded by their faith and fed up with a Fox News Catholicism that’s filled with opinions and hot air. I’ve been purposefully vague about the website because I were to say “its a blog” or “its a resource to learn about the catechism” it would miss the more important soul of the movement: living a life informed firsthand by the Faith of the Catholic Church. We are purposefully trying to turn as many young adults on to that soulful movement as possible.
When did you become so crazy about the Catechism?
When I left the safety net and support system of an amazing Catholic University and found myself married with kids out in the “real” world I realized how secondhand my faith had become. I was really good about reading books, blogs, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc about my faith, but after a few years I realized how little I had been changed firsthand by the Faith of the Church. I was more like a Christian with some Catholic sacraments thrown in and a love of the Bible.
When I started turning back to the Catechism, obviously I didn’t read it. I first started reading what other people had to say about it. That convicted me because lots of holier and smarter people have said some very strong words about the Catechism. But once I started actually reading and praying with the Catechism, I was sold.
What is your favourite section in the Catechism? (I know, hard question!)
My favorite section is definitely the fourth pillar on prayer. It was written by a Melkite Priest from Lebanon who was in Beruit at the time taking cover from bomb blasts in a basement. If that alone doesn’t peak your interest, know that it has been said that never before have we had a spiritual writing like this written in the English language. It lays a sure and firm foundation for a Catholic’s prayer life. You’ll never look at the Our Father the same again.
We all know you can’t be a Catholic and not love Tolkien, Chesterton and papal encyclicals. So…
a) Who is your favourite Lord of the Rings character?
b) Which is your favourite Chesterton quote?
Right now I’d have to go with something from his novel The Man Who Was Thursday which is filled with pithy philosophies on life. One of my favorite parts is when Syme talks about the backs and fronts of things and I don’t think it would be overkill to say it changed my life.
“Listen to me,” cried Syme with extraordinary emphasis. “Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front—”
You can read the whole bit online in the chapter called The Six Philosophers.
c) Is it better to read an encyclical with beer, red wine, whisky or orange juice?
You must read encyclicals with whiskey. Red wine or beer would be acceptable but a bit impolite. Unless its mead or a craft brew with some heft to it. Whiskey though.
What whiskey do you recommend?
Honestly I’m a newb when it comes to whiskey. Once I figured out that I hate sour mashes and love Jameson I’ve been slowly trying to branch out. So right now I can only suggest pouring a bit of room temp Jameson Irish Whiskey in some large glasses, put on some Delta Spirit, and argue loudly with close friends about renewal in the Church and the Catechism.
Here on my blog, we have a First Friday Link Up for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What say you about the devotion to the Sacred Heart, sir? Does the Heart of Jesus have anything to do with the Catechism?
I could write for years about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and teens in my youth ministry roll their eyes at this point because I bring it up so often. I’ll resist trying to write much about it, since I’m outmatched by your thesis work on the subject. ;)
The Catechism doesn’t mention very many devotions, but Devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of those few mentioned. I’d highly suggest reading paragraph 478 and then reading all the paragraphs that mention the human heart in the Catechism, especially 2562-2563. (And 368, 1430-1433, 821, 1764, 1853, 2517-2519, and others). Paragraph 478 is a beautiful explanation:
Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God… loved me and gave himself for me.” He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception.
One of my favorite quotes about the Catechism comes from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household. In 2012 when he gave sermons for Advent to the Papal Household, the first one was specifically about the Catechism and the Year of Faith. In it he says:
In short, we need to discover the CCC’s pulsating heart. And what is this heart? It is not a dogma or a truth, a doctrine or an ethical principle. It is a Person: Jesus Christ! “On page after page,” – the Holy Father writes regarding the CCC in the same Apostolic Letter – “we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church”.”
That is amazing. So can you have a conversation without quoting the Catechism? ;)
Dang it. I was hoping the answer would be no. I think we all know that would be more truthful.
Anyway, you should definitely check out reverbculture.com and get their emails, read their posts, and more importantly, crack open that Catechism. Also be sure to follow them @Reverb_Culture and on Facebook.
Why not send them a pic of yourself with your Catechism? #CCCselfie anyone?
And before anyone asks, the Catechism in front of the face look is purely an artistic decision. It has nothing to do with the fact that I was home all day and hadn’t brushed my teeth. That would be gross.