10 Signs You Might be Called to be a Catholic Blogger

As I write this post, Truth & Charity is within 2000 hits of reaching 100,000 in just over 3 months of operation, which is awesome. To share my joy at our tremendous success, a few thoughts for those of you who might be considering joining us in this Catholic blogosphere:

  1. You have a great desire to spread the Gospel. The first ought to be obvious. If you don’t want to spread Catholicism, why start a Catholic blog?
  2. You know your stuff. There are few things more annoying than a know-it-all (I am one), but while most won’t do too much damage, a Catholic know-it-all can do enormous damage to the souls of others. Make sure you’re properly catechized before becoming a blogger.
  3. You have a great passion for a particular aspect of the faith. That passion of yours could easily become a blog theme. What theme would you feel called to blog on? Fr. Z is a liturgist and he’s great at it. Other Catholic bloggers are great philosophers, moral theologians, or spiritual writers. Others are archivists of the great stores of Catholic knowledge available online. Maybe you’re called to make something of your devotion to prayer or your encyclopedic knowledge of patristics. Perhaps you’re called to be a simple stay-at-home blogger, reminding us of the hidden life of Christ by letting us in on the hidden life of your Catholic family.
  4. You are humble. If you’re a man of great hubris, don’t become a blogger! You may find yourself increasingly drawn toward the quest for popularity. God needs humble men and women to be His evangelists, especially in this new digital Areopagus, where it is so easy to lose sight of the humanity of others engaged in the discussion. God gave you specific gifts and interests for you to use them. Not everyone is called to be a blogger. In fact, one can get confused between the call to blog and a number of other temptations, such as vanity (“I’ll be a famous blogger!”) and laziness (“I’ll create an anonymous blog somewhere in the dark corners of cyberspace to convert dust bunnies on the host server all in an attempt to avoid real-life witness and evangelization to my spiritually imperiled loved ones”). You, my dear reader, need to figure out what it is God wants of you. Don’t blog for any other reason.
  5. You are a nerd. In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of Catholic bloggers are nerds. They talk about these things called “blognics” and “CatholiCon.” They store their songs and images in “the cloud.” They discuss the possible implications of Confession apps and using iPads as Mass cards. An iOS and PC user at work, last week I bought a Droid. I’m psyched about being able to tweet the Gospel!
  6. You have a family to support. That’s right. If you have a family to support, you could use the extra help. What’s that? There’s no money in it? Yes, that’s true. Who said anything about money? You can forget the money, but imagine the benefit to your family if you’re forced to sit down and write out your thoughts on your faith a few times a week!
  7. You have facial hair. Some facially follicularly blessed Catholic bloggers: Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea, Msgr. Charles Pope, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Scott Hahn, Michael Barber (Update: apparently he had a beard…leave it to a barber to shave), Frank Weathers, Patrick Archbold, John Zmirak and yours truly. Seriously, I think facial hair may be the long lost sacramental of blogging graces.
  8. You have a sense of humor. If you’re capable of writing everything candidly, with a sense of irony and just a smidgen of snark, you may be called to be a Catholic blogger. Extra credit if you use Jewish idioms and cultural expressions or write like the most superlatively teenage girl from the 90′s…evah!
  9. You like to trivialize the faith. …or something like that. Catholic trivia has a universal appeal. Catholics love knowing things about their Church they didn’t know before and “trivia” generally sends the message that the content will be only as long as a Jeopardy question. If you’re a master of Catholic trivia, you may be called to inspire other Catholics with their history, heritage, and culture.
  10. You can present the faith in a fresh, dynamic way. The New Evangelization is very much about marketing. You’re not going to be explaining things to people the way they were explained to me. The world changes too quickly. Arguments that made converts 10 years ago won’t work as well today, not because the proofs are wrong, but because the issues have changed. People aren’t wondering whether we worship Mary, they’re wondering whether we really think contraception is evil. Can you roll with the punches and keep on demonstrating how the Gospel is relevant?

If you happen to have your own Catholic blog, let us know in the comments section!

56 Comments

  1. I used to be bald, so #7 doesn’t fit me.

    (I shaved my hair, now I let it grow out, no hair plugs please).

    Though my eyebrows can make bearded men cry.

    • Ray Heyob /

      And obviously you’re well qualified for characteristic #8!

  2. I’m in it for the money.
    And the chicks.

  3. Well, John Bergsma doesn’t have a beard. . . yet.

    • I wish he did! I wanted to link to him. He was one of my favorite professors in college.

      Thanks for commenting, Dr. Barber!

    • I’ve been meaning to kid Dr. Barber about the beard. OBVIOUSLY, he had to grow one to join the exclusive Catholic Biblical Scholar Club (see Hahn, Pitre) when he got his Ph.D. Now that he has full membership, he can shave it off!

      Kidding, of course. ;-)

  4. Maybe not, but I sure like to comment. Always willing to give my opinion.

  5. Ray Heyob /

    This is fantastic. I’ll confess that #2 is my primary barrier to becoming a Catholic blogger. But thanks to the efforts of you and many others, it’s improving….

  6. Maryanne Leonard /

    Facial hair? Do eyelashes count?

    • Obviously, you don’t have to meet all the criteria. ;-)

    • Funny, I’d put it as going more au natural than facial hair specifically. We try to be neat and tidy, but we don’t seem to get too caught up with the primping and preening… So we may let our grey hairs see the light of day (heck some of us might be darn proud of the grey hairs) or that our eyebrows are real and not penciled in. So yes, I think eyelashes should count!

  7. What if you kinda, sorta fit SOME of the requirements above?

    Oh, and you have like a big mouth and talk a lot and digress and all that sort of stuff…
    BUT are trying, Trying real hard to Be a Better, Learned and Practicing Catholic??

    Does that count??

    Loved your Blog and Congrats!!!

  8. Thank you for this list. I’ve been really thinking about whether I want to start a Catholic blog or not, but #4 gave me pause. I think I still have much praying and discerning to do.

    • Clearly, none of us are perfectly humble. Actually, I’m a pretty prideful guy sometimes. The first step to humility is knowing you’re prone to pride, though. I think you can run a Catholic blogger if you’re aware of your pride, but be on your guard!

      Truthfully, I take personal pride seeing this blog succeed, but I also am amazed that it is doing so well. It can also be humbling to have a blog, because I realize I am no better than any other.

  9. I fit most of these except the facial hair. I am not growing facial hair anytime soon either. I am good company with John Bergsma, Michael Barber, Cardinal Dolan, and Pope Benedict XVI. Clean cut and evangelizing the world!

    I like this blog! How about helping a brother from another mother get more hits on my blog? Fellow Franciscan grad here too! (Masters in Theology 2010). Peace out!

  10. Why do you have to be a male(#4) with facial hair (#7) to spread the Good News of Salvation????

    • You don’t. This list is only half-serious. Also, not all criteria would need to be met anyway. These are just general indicators (half-serious ones at that).

  11. #3 – Mine is the Liturgy of the Hours check me out at Coffee and Canticles.
    #7 – yes, but I’m always plucking it out.

  12. I love number 3 – that special niche in the Catholic life.

    There’s nothing like receiving the emails that say, “You have helped me understand the Catholic Faith.” These are the notes that make all the effort worth the work!

    Mary

  13. I have a Catholic blog AND a beard! Keep up the good work here!

  14. Started a blog about a month ago, about apologetics, the war on religion, politics in general, pro life. See the problem to many subjects. So now I pray a lot Think about conversion and my real goal of evangelizing the faith. the Church as Christ wanted is true and easily defended. But to many are afraid to wear their religion. Pray at dinner in a restaurant, that food is from Gods bounty also. Show your faith and evangelize by actions. Oops I’m doing it again. see how easy it is to blog. Remember “The Truth Will Set You Free.

  15. I think it is important for people of Faith to have a voice in all public venues. The Internet’s most popular traffic is wholly unholy and it is good for us to put up blogs and sites (and even comments) humbly declaring the faith in the hopes that others may benefit from it.

    One small area of knowledge, even if it is based on experiences not study, can be good to share on a blog. People find blogs through searching the entire Internet with a search engine for a general topic. They often find a single post and read it, and move on, but sometimes they read the blog in full or regularly, but that doesn’t matter. One person helped is one person helped.

    Even if nobody else but oneself, writing can be good. Whether one publishes it or not comes after writing, but I think everyone should explore the possibility they may be able to write well (spiritually speaking).

  16. Well… I don’t have facial hair, haha. I think I have a dynamic view though, and I do know my stuff. :)

  17. I have been tinkering around with a blog for abit if you care to check it out…it is composed of my conversion through some current events. I try to updated it regularly, but with a wife and 3 daughters, it can be challenging.

  18. Mouse /

    Umm, being female, I will skip over the “you have facial hair” part. N/A!!! Don’t forget that there are female Catholic bloggers too!

  19. I started a blog a month ago as a form of discipline: It makes me focus my thoughts, and I’ve always learned more by teaching. It’s also a form of ministry: I’m trying to give of my experiences.

    Blogging is a bit more difficult than it looks. Also I find that I’m a bit wary of letting my family in on my blogging secret: they might laugh… actually I put on an act that I’m big and tough, but I’m not really.

    Yep – there are some superb bloggers out there.

  20. I started blogging about six months ago as a way of reaching out to fellow young adult Catholics. It’s a great way to be a witness of the Church’s teaching and invite some great discussions!

  21. I am all about numbers 9 and 10. Word. My sister says my head is filled with mounds of information on the saints that most people never learn. She also says it’s because I’m a total dork about it all, but whatevs. I’m just keepin’ it real up in here. Great post btw

  22. I’ve got the facial hair and three blogs posted (with more to come). I have my own brand of passion in working to bring new members to Christ.
    I’ve never thought of myself as a nerd, but by your definition, I guess I am that too. In fact, most of your 10 points would describe me. Though I’ll admit number four is too often problematic.

  23. Wish I’d considered these things more when starting my blog, but I did pray about it first, and I’ve seen enough spiritual fruit from it that I feel confident it’s what God wants from me.

    Humility is a tough one for me (I literally just finished a post on humility an hour ago), but the group blog dynamic keeps us from writing more than we read, and protects my family members from harassment of the “have you checked out my blog?? pleasepleaseplease!” variety.

    If you want to geek out on music, Byzantine Rite oddities, and keeping the faith after college, check us out!

  24. Re:Incarnation is a blog about living your faith in the world, about living incarnational lives (get it? Re: Incarnation? About Incarnation? okay, nevermind)

    Our lives should show our faith made flesh by our actions. We discuss evangelism, living the moral life, star wars, etc.

  25. Here’s my blog!: handmaidofthehandmaid.blogspot.com

  26. I started my blog this past Christmas. I like to think of my blog as an oasis of truth, goodness and beauty… with occasional bits of satire (#8).

    I don’t do a lot of commentary (with respect to #s 2 & 4), but I do try to spread the word that others are telling well.

    Visitors are always welcome!
    http://catholicsacristan.blogspot.ca/

  27. I’m a Catholic Blogger! I meet some of the 10 criteria, but not all. Everytime I feel like there’s no point to it, why am I doing it, I check my stats and find in the search part keywords like “forgiveness after abortion,” “am I forgiven after an abortion,” and then I remember why I started blogging in the first place. http://www.postabortionwalk.blogspot.com – a blog about healing after an abortion.

  28. 8/10 isn’t bad- I’m missing the facial hair (Shannon won’t let me have it) and I’m missing the sense of humor (or at least, so the Neurotypicals say- in reality Aspie humor is a lot like hacker humor and English humor- an acquired taste and very subtle). But otherwise, I’ve got the list.

    Oh, and Outside the Autistic Asylum, which tangentially touching on Catholicism, is also about economics, computer science, Asperger’s/Autism, and trying to live in a society of moral relativism as a Cradle Catholic with Asperger’s. Oh, and a bit of Knights of Columbus thrown in as well, as I see them as the solution to the problem of being a Catholic in America.

  29. Magnus /

    Re “If you’re capable of writing everything candidly, with a sense of irony and just a smidgen of snark…”

    See the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    “CCC 2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior.”

    One can be humorous and write well without committing the sin against truth through the use of sarcasm, snark or irony. It’s a far better Catholic witness if we can rise above commonplace secular snark in our writings.

    • Magnus, as “snark” is a slang term meaning “short” (although it could be taken as “testy”), I think its range of meaning could include simply the trait of a choleric sort of reply: blunt, direct, frank. My intention in referring to a “smidgen” of snark was to confine to these limits the reader’s impression of what I meant. Additionally, irony is not always sinful, but only when it is “aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior.” Thus, satire can be a moral form of communication. I was not telling anyone to do anything sinful.

      However, I recognize in myself how very often my snark goes beyond these limits and my sense of irony does lend itself to sarcasm. Thank you for calling me out on my personal behavior. Thank you also for reminding the other readers of the moral dangers of excessive snark.

      God bless,

      Micah

      • Magnus /

        Micah: “Snark” in online lingo comes from the combination of the words ‘snide’ and ‘remark’ and ‘use of sarcasm or malice in speech’. As your post addresses the subject of Catholic blogging, an online activity, that is the usual usage for that word (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=snark)

        That said, when addressing people and topics in an open worldwide forum, we can all follow the good examples of both Scripture and our own good Pope Benedict xvi by “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

        • Magnus, with respect, you might care to look into the etymology of the word in a more scholarly dictionary. This definition and etymology comes from the publisher Random House, which is better than definitions given by and voted on by internet users at Urban Dictionary.

          Yes means yes and no means no, but Jesus called Herod a fox (Luke 13:32). I find that a little snarky. Snark, as I defined it, is not unbecoming a Christian. The yes and no instructions were regarding varying levels of promises, as if there were varying levels of being true or false. They were not meant to imply that speech could not be ironic or even sharp in tone.

          God bless,

          Micah

          • Magnus /

            For internet topics such as the blogosphere which you yourself are emphasizing, we must remember that the definitions and etymologies for such terms must come from less hidebound references and resort to the context of cyber slang and modern dictionaries that record such. Snark has a very particular definition in the world of blogs as cited earlier in the reference link I gave.

            Snark is against charity and truth. Irony when used to belittle another human is a sin. There’s no rationalization for either.

            Jesus, as the Son of God was not snarking nor using sarcasm against Herod. He was using a common Aramaic linguistic device to sum up the behaviors displayed by Herod. He simply stated behavioral facts using a zoosemy.

            Regardless, snark, sarcasm and irony as defined by the CCC is a sin. They are not metaphors but a cheap and uncharitable shot which, according to the CCC and should be addressed and confessed with proper repentance.

          • Last I checked, very few “things” (especially things such as literary devices) are actually defined as sin. They may be discouraged as leading towards unkind thoughts. It is the state of mind of the user of these devises, just as it is with almost any action, that makes them sinful. Clearly, no one on this page is attempting to be sinful by being snarky. Also, your reference is not the only definition of the word and just because it is being used on the internet does not mean that it is the only context in which someone would automatically understand it.

          • Magnus, I’ve been doing online evangelization for at least a decade now and I’ve never heard of this assumption you have of taking Urban Dictionary’s definitions and etymologies as the primary or sole online usage. You seem to be under the impression that the English language changes substantially online. Yes, new connotations are added, but that does not invalidate denotations. I’m making an accurate use of the word. No one but yourself has indicated that he has read the reference to “snark” as an invitation to sin. Further, while definitions change over time, etymologies are the geneology of a word and do not change (I can’t change my ancestors). “Snark,” as I pointed out, does not come from the words you said it did. Therefore, your argument from Urban Dictionary is not valid.

            I’ve been patient and allowed you to make your case. I respect your concerns and intentions, but I do not agree with your exceptionally narrow definition of terms, which lends itself to legalism, when my use of the words in question are not relevant to your objections. You cannot go to the lengths of altering the idiomatic range of English vocabulary to make your argument that I’m encouraging sin. I’m using proper English vocab to describe something that is not sinful, but I thank you for your efforts to ensure that readers do not get the wrong impression by thinking that my use of the word “snark” somehow encourages sin.

            God bless,

            Micah

    • If you’ve ever read Patrick Madrid, you can quickly recognize his use of sarcasm, snark, or irony in a self deprecating way that in no way commits the offense of which you refer in the Catechism.

      • Magnus /

        “sarcasm, snark, or irony in a self deprecating way that in no way commits the offense of which you refer in the Catechism.”

        When self-deprecating references, humorous or otherwise, are used they are they are not sarcasm, snark, or the irony reference by the Catechism. Sarcasm, snark and the CCC definition of irony are malicious caricatures of another, not self-deprecation.

        The CCC is clear. There are no excuses for such verbal maliciousness towards others.

  30. Mike Hooker /

    I am a blog junkie. My dear wife of 47+ years thinks i should blog and share the knowledge i have stored over theyears. After teaching college students for 22 years she says i can baffle the most intellegent person.

  31. Congratulations! I have been blogging four times as long as Truth and Charity with 1/16th the success. Maybe I need to grow a beard. http://inigohicks.blogspot.com

  32. I’m a Catholic blogger, but not a bearded male.
    Actually, a greying female.

    The greying female part comes in quite handy on occasion, particularly when some try to label our Church as woman-hating.

    It blows their argument to have a grey-haired female support Catholic teaching and explain why the Church’s policies are actually better for women than are radical feminist policies.

    http://SyteReitz.com

    • I agree Syte!

      Especially a greying female who has kept the Faith, stayed married to one, and had more than 2.2 children of her own with the same one.

      I’m off to see your site. :-)

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