Scrutinizing “Resisting Happiness”

Matthew Kelly sent me a copy of his new book Resisting Happiness, and I recently read it.

New Words, Old Meanings

This book is about the perennial human struggle to grow in faith, hope, and love while overcoming sin.

resistbookHence, we “resist happiness” because we have concupiscence–the tendency toward sin–and so we are tempted to be lazy, gluttonous, prideful, and selfish.

Kelly avoids these traditional words in order to make the book accessible to non-Catholics, secular people, and Catholics who don’t know their Faith well. This is Kelly’s target audience and his mission, and that must be kept in mind when reading the book as a Catholic strong in your faith.

Self-Help Catholicism?

Kelly tells many anecdotes in this book–one of his hallmarks–and even admits to recycling several stories from previous books into this one. Reading Kelly’s books the same themes emerge under slightly different window dressing: become the best version of yourself (e.g. holiness, becoming a saint in traditional lingo); discover that Catholicism is true, grow in virtue.

kelly1Many people criticize Kelly because he can come across as promoting “self-help” Catholicism or that his writing is too surface-level.

My response is that Kelly is targeting the huge masses of people who don’t go to church, who fell away from Catholicism, who are nominal in their Faith.

Recently in fact, a reader messaged me describing three people he is talking with–all secular to a large degree, with lots of problems, far from God in most ways–and he asked me what books I’d recommend.

I told him something by Fr. (Bishop) Barron or Matthew Kelly. Quite frankly they are the kinds of authors that reach people who are on the outside of the Church. I respect them for that and don’t expect to read an Imitation of Christ when I pick up one of their books.

Plus, even for a Catholic apologist like me, I need reminders of the basics: in reading Resisting Happiness many times it made me reflect on my own life and how I let laziness steer me off course in my spiritual life. So there is something for everyone in it.

Navigate the Tiber for Free

I’m giving away three copies of my new book, Navigating the Tiber, and you’ve got one day left to enter the giveaway.

The book has been out for a few months and received an overwhelming positive response. People are calling it a spiritual sequel to The Protestant’s Dilemma, as it launches off from the pure apologetics into strategies, soft skills, and psychology when having conversations with your Protestant friends.

Soft Skills for Apologetics

In my fifteen years of being Catholic, I’ve realized that these soft skills in dialogue are just as important as knowing the apologetics data and arguments.

navigating_the_tiber_spotlightWe are human beings, with feelings, moods, and biases–not just human syllogism computing machines–hence the need for a book like Navigating the Tiber, that helps you understand how and why to make certain arguments when, that points out what your Protestant friend is thinking at various stages of dialogue, and to give you insight into your own thought processes and blind spots in regard to evangelization.

Free Paperback for You!

With this giveaway, I’ll be drawing three names randomly, but you can stack the odds in your favor by first entering the drawing, then in the confirmation email getting your lucky link (url) that you can share with others on facebook et cetera.

For every person who enters the giveaway through your lucky link, you will get three additional entries in the contest, greatly increasing your chance to win.

The book is already helping Catholics lead their Protestant friends into full communion. It’s worth the $14 that it costs even if you don’t win, but why not give it a shot and potentially get a free book!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Novenas?

When my friend Chad and I wrote Pray the Catholic Novena app, we didn’t know what to expect.

Would Catholics use the app?

Would they pray novenas with it?

Four months later, the verdict is in, and it’s a decided YES on both counts!

Novenas for Apple

Like a true “startup”, Chad and I wrote the app for iPhones and iPads. No sense in duplicating the effort onto Android before we knew whether or not people would like the app.

The Three Hail Marys novena
The Three Hail Marys novena

But we now have one thousand Catholics praying novenas each day using the app, and many many times that number using the app each month.

I myself pray more novenas than I ever have. Once we finish a novena using Pray, my wife immediately asks: “Okay, which novena do you want to pray next?”

But only Apple device users are able to pray. My friends who have Android smart phones and tablets have been out of luck.

At least til now…

Bring the Pray App to Android

I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to port Pray to Android.

It’s only been going for a day but already we have over 11% funded. Indiegogo, the platform we are using, told us that campaigns that get over 10% funded in less than a day almost always reach their funding goal.

Novenas to pray
Novenas to pray

We need your help though.

We need you to consider making a contribution–several levels are possible beginning at $5–and as a reward I am offering many “perks” for your generosity.

But beyond the perks you get, you will be helping tens of thousands of Catholics around the world pray novenas and grow in their faith.

People have contacted me through the app telling me that this is the first novena they have ever prayed, that this is the first novena they have ever completed, that they are learning about the saints through it and growing in their faith in God.

The app is free on iPhones and will be free on Android. My friend Chad and I spent all the money and did all the work ourselves for $0 to write the app.

But we don’t have endless time on our hands. Both of us have families and young children and professional jobs as software developers.

So check out our campaign, say a prayer for us, make a donation, and share the campaign on facebook with your friends.

Here it is –>

God bless!