About

 

Hey there, thanks for stopping by!  I’m Craig, the guy behind Another Benedict.  I’m married, have kids, and work in information tech.  I have a BA in Western Cultural History and an MA in Systematic Theology.  I love coffee, beer, and conversations that truly matter.

I’m a Catholic convert with a voracious curiosity and intellect.  Before becoming Catholic, I had no previous religion affiliation (I was a “none” before it was a thing!).  As a teenager I began reading heavily in both philosophy and history and had an interest in religion, as I had many friends who were Christian.  I saw myself then as having Christian values without the Christian belief.  My path toward the Catholic faith was both a personal and an intellectual journey, that converged on a sunny May morning at the Evergreen State College when I accepted Christ, Evangelical-style.  That following September I began the RCIA process and was received into the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church at Easter in 1997.  What followed has been, in G.K. Chesterton’s immortal words about the Church, a “whirling adventure” of faith that has brought me to numerous monasteries, married, family life, graduate theological study abroad, EWTN’s Journey Home television program.

One friend described me as having “read my way into the Church,” which is pretty much true.  During my freshman undergraduate studies of Roman history, literature, and philosophy I became interested in ancient natural law and Stoicism.  Further study of the French Revolution introduced me to the writings of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk.  Kirk deeply influenced by options on civilization, culture, and the role of faith therein.  Kirk also led me to the likes of T.S. Elliot, G.K. Chesterton, Christopher Dawson and the whole alternative view point to our modern Liberal/Progressive paradigm.  Kirk also taught me to be skeptical of any and all political ideology.  Russell Kirk basically introduced me to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, with which I immediately fell in love–and I wasn’t even a Christian at that point.

Also early on in college, I discovered the writings of Thomas Merton.  A friend let me borrow a copy of No Man is an Island, and I was immediately taken with the short, dense, profoundly wise and learned reflections on the spiritual life that it offered.  Merton broader and deepened my reading in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, but, more importantly, he helped me (and still does today!) to grapple with how to be a Christian in the modern world.  Merton also led me to the Benedictine monastic tradition and to check out the monks of St. Martin’s Abbey in Lacey, WA, which was right around the corner from Sacred Heart parish, where I was received into the church.  Upon coming into the Church, I had already decided to shift my college trajectory toward religious studies or theology and I selected several courses in Scripture, philosophy, and theology to take at St. Martin’s College (now a university).  This provided a fantastic intellectual and spiritual foundation for my new-found Catholic faith and has formed the basis of the entire trajectory of my life ever since.

My intellectual journey into the church was also coupled with a more personal and experiential aspect of the journey as well.  In college, as in high school, I was attracted to and dated girls that professed a Christian faith.  In college, in the name of “getting to know her better” I started attending the Evergreen Students for Christ on-campus fellowship meetings.  It was in those meetings that I had positive and meaningful experiences with living, breathing Christians.  I began to read Scripture for the first time, save for some short-lived Bible reading in high school).  I also began to grapple with the personal implications of the God of Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ.  Also at this time I was searching for a more meaningful sense of what it means to be human, as many modern philosophers–religious and secular–present a largely negative view of the human person.

While at St. Martin’s, on retreat in their guest house, I discovered Catholic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre’s famous book After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.  Those who know MacIntyre already will know that Another Benedict is taken from a now-famous paragraph in the conclusion of the book where he posits that in our culture today we are in need of a “doubtless, very different St. Benedict” to point us to new forms of moral community where the virtues and the spiritual life can be practiced.

Several years later, I carried all of this into my graduate studies at St. John’s University’s School of Theology.  St. John’s is run by one of the larger Benedictine monasteries in the U.S. and one of only half a handful of Benedictine graduate theology programs in the U.S.

 

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