Monday, October 19, 2009

Joe McClane Rocks!

Matt Warner at Fallible Blogma is running “Support a Catholic Speaker month". The idea is to get Catholic bloggers to each pick a Catholic speaker and blog about him or her as a way to help us all get to know about the various Catholic resources out there. Well, this blog isn't a “Catholic” blog per se, but it is my blog and I am Catholic which I guess makes me a Catholic blogger, so I decided to throw my hat in. The speaker I am supporting is Joe McClane.

Why did I pick Joe? One of the “rules” was to pick a speaker you weren't familiar with (another way for us all to get to know each other). While I had heard Joe once or twice before on his podcast The Catholic Hack, I was not really familiar with him at all. So I spent the last couple of days listening to The Catholic Hack, and also his other podcast Behold the Man. I also dropped him several emails, to which he promptly sent me very nice replies.

Joe is a very modest guy, which is a trait I'd like to have someday. His self-deprecating manner of speech is a little off-putting at first until one realizes it's not an affectation, he is a genuinely humble person. I find this awesome and mysterious, since I tend to agree with Benjamin Franklin

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly [sic] overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. - Ben Franklin

In fact, when I exchanged emails with him about this project he told me he doesn't really consider himself a Catholic speaker. His bio describes him simply as a “lay evangelist”. The very title of his podcast, “The Catholic Hack” exemplifies his humility. I asked him about this, and he replied:

When I felt the call to begin my audio outreach I wanted to convey a message of passion with out leading people to believe I was an "expert" in scripture or theology. I ultimately decided up on "Hack" because that how I see myself. I'm a real hack... not professionally trained no fancy degrees... just your average Catholic laymen who is passionate and wants to be "the donkey Jesus rides today". I want the listener to think... there is NO reason why they can not be as passionate as I am or as knowledgeable as I am. In the end... there's nothing special going on.

Joe, I have to tell ya, in the end...there's everything special going on. There may be no reason why everyone can't be as passionate and knowledgeable as you are, but they're not, and that's the special part. The “donkey” Joe mentions refers in part to Numbers 22:28 where God causes Balaam's donkey to speak to him. If God can make a donkey speak, He can make each of us speak His word also.

Joe's newest podcast series is “Behold the Man”. I asked him why he started another podcast. In his words:

This past year I was asked to adapt my Catholic Hack! show for a radio (both traditional and internet) show. As I pondered it further I decided that I didn't want to do that. The podcast is NOT a radio show, and vise versa, as the style, and feel are different from one another. So I set out to create a new show... one more like a radio show. The two verses I pondered on were John 19:5 "Behold the Man", and Rev. 19:20 "Behold I stand at the door and knock"! I love the BOLDNESS of the language and the images conveyed. We live in a world that WANTS desperately to know that tomorrow is going to be ok... they will win the lottery and "everything" is going just fine at that point. We refuse to embrace our suffering and consider it as nothing! This is completely opposite of the Gospel of Christ... like him we must embrace our cross. Our lord beaten and bruised was offered up for us and stands there knocking at the door of our hearts.... if we open it... he will come into us and give us supernatural food! His body and blood! That's powerful stuff!

I have so far only listened to one episode of “Behold the Man”, and I have to say it completely changed my understanding of Genesis in 30 minutes! I have always understood the story of Adam end Eve to be a story that conveyed religious truth but was not scientifically literal. But there were some things that always bothered me. For instance, God tells Adam that he will die is he eats of the fruit of the tree. Satan tells him he won't die, but will become like God, knowing the difference between good and evil.

Well, as we all know, Adam and Eve eat, and don't die, and do get the knowledge of good and evil. So what's up with that? God is lying and Satan, the father of lies, is telling the truth? Well, this one episode (#13) explained all that and more. This is bible study that even a neophyte like me can get into! Curious? Go ahead and listen.

One of the things that's evident about Joe is that Dr. Scott Hahn is his hero. Having seen Dr. Hahn on EWTN a few times I admit he's really smart and can really explain really complicated stuff, but why a hero? Joe explains:

You can hear more about this in episode 1 of TCH or episode 1 of Behold the Man but... Scott is my hero because he saved me from walking out on the one true Church! I was going to leave when the Holy Spirit lead me to the early Church Fathers and then a good friend lent me a tape set from Scott Hahn called "Calling all Bible Christians to be Catholic and vice versa"... it was amazing as for the first time I heard a Catholic response to the reformation. I then began to devour everything Scott Hahn... could never get enough. We give a lot of credit to folks who can save our physical lives but not enough credit for those who save our spiritual lives. That's why Scott is one of my heroes.

So there are two more podcasts I have to add to my list, The Catholic Hack and Behold the Man. If you have an iTunes you can find them at  TheCatholic Hack and Behold the Man. If not, you can visit the web sites The Catholic Hack and Behold the Man and listen to them on your computer or download them to your MP3 player. Either way I strongly encourage you to give them a try.


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