Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catholic Speakers' Month: Steve Kellmeyer

Today is the last day of Support a Catholic Speakers Month hosted by FallibleBlogma, a month in which Catholic bloggers help draw attention to some of the outstanding Catholic speakers in our country :).

I'm highlighting Steve Kellmeyer.

I had the privilege and pleasure to work with Steve back when I lived in the big city. He was then employed as the Director of Adult Faith Formation in our parish, and after an inquisition-like interview (trying to ascertain if I was a heretic) he accepted me onto the RCIA team. What struck me about him right away (besides his Pauline zeal and unapologetic orthodoxy), was how funny he is! Most of his conversation is peppered with laughter, and he likes a good joke. He's a dynamic, passionate, and engaging speaker, and can clearly and succinctly explain even the hardest doctrines. Good times!

A little about the man himself: he has degrees in Medical Lab Technology and Computer Science, and M.A.'s in both Theology and Post-Enlightenment European History. He's been married for 12 years to his lovely wife, and they have four children.

Besides being a catechist and nationally-renowned speaker, Steve is an author. He founded Bridegroom Press which has published his many hot-topic current events books, including: Debunking Obama's First 100 Days, Debunking Angels and Demons, Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code, and Sex in the Sacred City (a meditational book on Theology of the Body) as well as his Scriptural works: Bible Basics (an apologetics reference book), The Sensible Scripture Study (a Bible study using the four senses of Scripture), and The Flesh of God (a meditational study for Advent).

There are three of his books I'd especially like to draw attention to, though.

The first is Artfully Teaching the Faith, which takes a few dozen masterpieces from Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and others and describes how Catholic doctrine is visually embedded by the artists in these paintings. It's illuminating!

The second is The Middle-Earth Riddle Book which contains nearly 180 medieval riddles (and, yes, their answers). In researching for this book, he used many of the same sources Tolkien would've used to craft his riddles for The Lord of the Rings. It's a fun read.

The third is, perhaps, his most controversial work, Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America. When I asked Steve the basic gist of it, his response was: "The Catholic parochial system is set up in such a way that it violates the rights of parents... and will never effectively pass on the faith." This book explicates that thesis. Well-researched, insightful, definitely controversial, and quite thought-provoking.

Far and away the most popular product at Bridegroom Press, however, is Steve's Calendar of Indulgences. And why not? It:
  • Lists all the indulgenced works of the Church on a month-at-a-glance basis,
  • Highlights the twenty-two special days when a partial indulgence becomes plenary to honor a day,
  • Color-codes the indulgences for easy identification
  • Has scholarly notes on the history of indulgences,
  • Contains the conditions for earning both partial and plenary indulgences,
  • Gives the complete text of over a dozen different indulgenced prayers,
  • Carries weekly reminders for Friday fasts and Saturday confession
  • Carries all the information for the Year of the Priest plenary indulgences!
Basically it gives you no reason not to gain all the graces you can throughout the year. 

So if you're looking for some Catholic gifts to give this Christmas, I'd recommend any of the aforementioned books (or the calendar!). And if you're looking to bring a dynamic, orthodox, well-educated and engaging speaker to your parish or conference, look no further than Mr. Steve Kellmeyer.


Rachel said...

I am very intrigued about this book: Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America. I'd like to read it, but I don't want to have to buy a copy... although perhaps it would be worthwhile just to break down and buy a copy.
This is an interesting premise - that Catholic Education has usurped parental responsibility for their children's catechesis. Given the fact that I'm considering working as a religion teacher in a Catholic school (eventually) - this might give me some things to think about.

bakerstreetrider said...

It's funny you should bring him up. I've read a few blog entries of his lately, in response to the Christopher West debate going on. I've always found his entries to be insightful, practical, and well-researched, and sometimes very funny, though they can be extremely sarcastic, sometimes even uncharitably so. It was really interesting to learn all these things about him! I had no idea he founded Bridegroom Press, for example.
Sometimes his delivery reminds me a bit of Christendom's Dr. Marshner.
Kellmeyer's blog is: Do you ever read it?


Farmer's City Wife said...

Rachel, consider it a Christmas gift :).

Emily, no... actually I didn't know he had a blog! I'll have to check it out now, thanks!

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