No doubt you are familiar with the “…for Dummies” series of books—instructional books designed to take complex topics and present them in a non-intimidating format for readers who are new to the subject. Ironically, the reason that these books sell so well is that readers know that the author will not treat them like dummies but rather as an apprentice in need of a mentor. The authors are experts in their fields, and the subject matter is presented in small chunks with bold headings and engaging sidebars.
What you probably didn’t know is that, when Loyola Press invited me to write the books in what is now called my Toolbox Series, we researched such instructional books and decided to draw on some features similar to those that have made those books so successful. As a result, the Toolbox Series—beginning with The Catechist’s Toolbox—has been enormously popular.
Imagine my delight, then, when I received the following letter (shown below with his permission) from a reader who appreciated using A Well-Built Faith in his journey through the RCIA to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church! The reader, Glenn Smith, used the book under the direction of the parish catechetical leader, Glenn Valois, and emphasized that what he appreciated most was that the book made things “simple-yet-not-simplistic.”
In an ironic twist, Glenn Smith—a professor of constitutional law in San Diego—showed his appreciation by sending me a copy of his own book, Constitutional Law for Dummies, which he said was his own attempt to “write a ‘simple-yet-not-simplistic’ treatment of [his] lifelong scholarly interest,” namely, constitutional law. Thanks, Professor Smith!
With all of that as a backdrop, I am happy to announce that over the next four weeks on Catechist’s Journey, I’ll be inviting you to revisit the basics of our Catholic faith—the four pillars of our faith: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer—in a series of posts designed to make the Catholic faith “simple-but-not-simplistic.” I’ll be drawing from my book, A Well-Built Faith. I look forward to the experience!