Conversion stories have always interested me. As a convert myself I’m always intrigued but what brings people of other faiths to the Catholic Church. In his latest book How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church, Kevin Lowry tells his story…and what a story it is.
Kevin is the son of a Presbyterian minister. He was a decent student and as high school draws to a close Kevin is faced with a decision on college. His father, surprisingly, takes Kevin on a journey from their home in Canada to a town in Ohio named Stuebenville. The college they visit is none other than Franciscan University…and Kevin soon realized it was a Catholic university. Kevin was accepted and soon began his college years.
Things did not go so well. As later described by his father Kevin held a double major in “beer and billiards.” His over-booked social -life began impacting his grades as Kevin went from a good student in high school who barely had to study to get good grades to a failing student in college. Things continued to head downhill rather quickly until eventually he was asked to “pack his bags, leave Franciscan University, Stuebenville, Ohio and the United States.”
What was most interesting about this entire period of his life is that you notice and you can hear throughout the stories Kevin relates that God is always there. In little ways he is constantly tugging at our hearts, never giving up on us, waiting for our return. Kevin’s testimony is a prime example of this. God was always there, Kevin just turned the volume up on his radio so to speak in an attempt to drown him out. Which, as is usually the case….it didn’t work.
After spending a few years as a collegiate drop out Kevin felt a pull to return to Franciscan University. He called and eventually they accepted him back and this time he excelled. His feet were firmly planted on the ground and a bright future lie ahead. And….Catholicism began making sense thanks to a little book called Humane Vitae. God was still calling and Kevin answered, slowly at first but he answered. Kevin graduated and settled in to begin life with his wife Kathi.
As their family adventure began, the pull to Catholicism continued and this time Kevin had a partner, his wife. Eventually they both joined the Catholic Church. Kevin has spent his post conversion period working to bring others to the faith. This book is an extension of that mission.
In the second part of the book Kevin examines eight stumbling blocks that many converts face during their conversion process. They are The Eucharist, Confession, The Mystical Body of Christ (the saints), Mary, Faith vs. Works, Authority (The pope and bishops), The Church’s Imperfections and perhaps the largest one…ourselves. Kevin explains each of these stumbling blocks in a manner that provides the meat of the topic in an approachable manner.
How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church is a fantastic read. Kevin’s witness as a convert is a great read for even cradle Catholics to learn from and solidify their own faith. Often funny, this is certainly not a dry book but one that is highly approachable for all. The second part of the book is worth its weight in gold and provides a firm foundation for explaining eight stumbling blocks to conversion to the potential converts in your own life. Bravo Kevin, bravo!