In case there is any doubt, I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I was baptized into the Church on April 22, 2000, which was the Easter Vigil of the Jubilee Year.
One of these days I will sit down and write out my conversion story. The short version is that I came from a basically unchurched background. When people ask what I converted to Catholicism from, the answer I usually give is "heathenism." My family is Methodist, but my parents quit going to church before I was born, and did not begin again until I was about 16 or so. Needless to say, it is near impossible to take a 16 year old who has not been to church a Sunday in his life and convince him to begin attending regularly. My wise parents never forced us kids to follow them on their return journey into faith. I spent my formative years reading fantasy novels and playing fantasy role playing games, which (contrary to popular fundamentalist Christian fears) did not turn me into a devil worshipper. What fantasy did for me was to inspire me with a great desire to learn about the actual Middle Ages that much of fantasy literature is based upon. This was an interest that would serve me well later on.
While my parents became very strong Christians in their Methodist church, I continued to wander, spirituality speaking. It wasn't until I was nearly out of college that I seriously began my quest for a faith home. I knew I was Christian -- in my heart anyway -- but never felt comfortable in (or convinced by) any of the denominations I had occasion to visit. They all felt too modern, too disconnected from the Jesus that I knew had actually existed. When I met my future wife, Joannie, who happened to be a devout Catholic, I surprised her by my willingness to attend mass with her. Why not? I thought. That was the "medieval Church," so why shouldn't this medievalist attend?
Well, the situation was ripe for a conversion. My love of history and background in medieval studies made me naturally curious about the history of the Catholic Church. Now that I was attending mass, and seeing first hand what being a Catholic was all about, I decided to make a study of it. What I learned (which I hope to one day convey in a better essay than this) left me with this one undeniable conclusion. Knowing the history of the Church, I could no longer in good faith remain outside of the Catholic Church and call myself a Christian. (This is not to say that I do not believe that those Christians outside of the Catholic Church are not really "Christian." Only for me, knowing what I did, I would not feel honest in calling myself that unless I joined in communion with the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church). I was at the brink of an "all or nothing" decision. I made it and have not looked back.
Since that time, and as a result of my past and continuing studies into the history and theology of Catholicism, I have fallen into the role of an apologist. I have authored several essays about the Church, many of them indexed on this site. I have also done freelance work. I have had two articles printed in This Rock magazine, published by Catholic Answers. I have also written a few guest editorials about Church issues for the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper. From 2002 to 2005 I served as an RCIA catechist at my home parish, St. Mary Mother of God, in Sylva, NC. From 2005 to 2008, I taught adult education in my parish, focusing on Apologetics, Scripture, Morality, and other issues pertinant to the Catholic faith. Beginning in the summer of 2008, I now serve as the Catholic campus minister for Western Carolina University's Catholic Student Center. I hold a Masters of Theology degree from Holy Apostles Seminary through the International Catholic University distance learning program.
I used to post to various Catholic/Protestant discussion boards on line, but with our growing family (my wife and I have four children), my time spent idling in front of a keyboard has greatly decreased!
Professionally, I have worked as the curator and historical consultant (as well as web master) for the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC, since January of 1997. I am a member of the Guild of Tartan Scholars and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland). You can read about my Scottish interests at http://albanach.org.
"And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'" --Genesis 1:28