June 1, 2016 // Uncategorized

Truth takes us to where we yearn

How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church 

Kevin Lowry
ISBN: 9781612788401

Reviewed by Theresa Thomas

Sometimes a parent just has to drag a kid where he doesn’t want to go: the grocery store, swimming lessons, the doctor’s office, even church. The parent does this because they’re not short-sighted like a child might be. The parent knows what the child needs long-term: food, life skills, a check-up and in the case of church, spiritual direction and faith.

Like the good Father He is, God also leads His children where they need to go, even if they fight Him the whole way. He is a relentless pursuer, bent on giving the best. Kevin Lowry knows this first-hand.

How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church by Kevin Lowry is the story of how a troublemaker, smart aleck kid and unlikely candidate for any religion was pursued quite sneakily by God, became a devout Catholic and developed gratitude for the push of a loving Parent. The book is thoughtful, funny, informative and inspiring.

You’ll love it.

“…To put it mildly, I was as cocky as they come. Since the time I’d been a small child, I’d been considered gifted; by the time I was sixteen, I thought that meant I was extraordinary. Not only that, I was running amok in the manner of many teenaged boys: having a good time, not caring about…the future, driving everyone crazy with my world- class self-centeredness and devil-may-care approach to life…”

Lowry ran with the wrong crowd, drank too much and swore like a sailor. He describes events in his young life that may be all too common to the modern secular American guy (although he’s Canadian). And he absolutely had no interest in Catholicism.

“…What I thought I knew could probably be boiled down to this: Catholics, generally speaking, were a superstitious and backward-looking bunch who thought they knew everything and wanted to control everyone…”

When I read this passage from the book, I thought, “Uh oh. God is about to change things.”

And He did.

Lowry experienced a pivotal moment, which slowly began to awaken his conscience. I won’t give it all away but it had to do with mouthing off, and being on the receiving end of a ginormous, literal slap in the face.  From there, God’s plan continued to unfold. Part of that plan, it seems, was the presence and influence of a cute, blonde college girl and her semester’s choice of classes. Unexpected turn after unexpected turn, Lowry eventually finds himself not only smack in the middle of the Catholic Faith, but on fire for the love of God and for the first Christian Church.

This is Part I of the book: Lowry’s personal journey. I actually found myself wishing the chapters were longer. I love that Lowry is honest about his shortcomings, at times being self-deprecating and humorous. Yet, the book contains wisdom and deep reflection that goes far beyond an entertaining narrative.

Part II of the book addresses a non-Catholic’s potential stumbling blocks to the faith, and offers perspective and answers to those topics. These potential stumbling blocks include the Eucharist, confession, the Mystical Body of Christ, Mary, faith vs. works, authority, the Church’s imperfections and what Lowry categorizes as “The Worst Stumbling Block of All: Me.”

How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church would be a great Father’s Day gift. It’s a faith booster for a faithful, cradle Catholic or new convert, and a gentle read for the guy struggling with religion. I could even see it being used in faith formation classes like RCIA. Certainly, every parish needs a copy.

God is sneaky. He takes us where we may not want to go. He takes us where we can have Real Food, learn life’s lessons, be inoculated against dangerous things and find Truth. Sometimes, yes, as Kevin Lowry shares in his book, God even hauls us kicking and screaming, right into what we directly need and have been yearning for all along.

Five stars for this outstanding book.

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