Welcome to my new blog on the all-new Shine Catholic website! Shine Catholic is an exciting new website drawing its inspiration from Matthew 5:16, which instructs us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Our purpose is to bring the New Evangelization to the Church and to the world by shining our light and inspiring others to shine as well, and I am excited to join a group of on-fire Catholic Christians who are passionate for their faith and are seeking to let their light shine and inspiring others to shine as well!
Maybe you are wondering how I became a contributor to an innovative new media Catholic website. The truth is, I am surprised myself, particularly at God’s sense of humor along the way. It has been said that a person need only tell God his thoughts and then He will change them, and that was certainly true with me. For those of you who do not know, I was received into the Church this past Easter. How that came about is a long story, and one that I will endeavor to re-tell these next few weeks in a way that will strengthen the mission of Shine Catholic in service to the Church.
For those of you reading this who do not know me already, I come from a devout Baptist background, and for that, I am exceedingly grateful. Unlike many people these days, I was raised actively attending church multiple times per week, and the first church that I recall experiencing in any detail was Fundamental Baptist. There I plugged into that church’s Sunday school and AWANA programs, prepped for Bible quizzes and sword drills, and more. All was not well though, as that particular church developed a controlling environment and went down a path of legalistic separation theology that eventually forced our family to seek a new church home.
Eventually we moved on, becoming active in a Southern Baptist environment. It offered a more relaxing environment than fundamentalism, and I embraced the switch. Our family continued with the AWANA program, where I not only won more state Bible quizzes but also studied the entire Scriptures all the way through in high school, which deepened my love for God’s Word and expanded my theological prowess.
If there was one thing that I could have told God during this time with certainty, it was that I would never be Catholic. During my discipleship, I heard just about every argument that Baptists have ever levied against Catholics, and by the time I headed into college, I was thoroughly convinced that the Catholic faith was a non-Christian belief system that was thoroughly indefensible. But as I noted earlier, if there is one way for God to change your thoughts, it is to tell God exactly what those thoughts are. I am grateful to be presenting the story of how God brought about that change in my life over the next several weeks here at Shine Catholic; my journey into the Church has surprised no one more than myself.
Regardless of your faith background though, my prayer is that you will be inspired and challenged by my story. Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment. I am looking forward to your thoughts and insights as I unpack my story. Again, welcome to my column here at Shine Catholic, and may God bless you!
About Joshua Baldwin
Joshua Baldwin is a full-time aerospace software engineer and a convert to the Catholic Church, joining from a Baptist background at Easter 2015. A Phoenix native, Joshua holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Arizona State University and is passionate about studying Scripture and mastering apologetics to further the Church in its New Evangelization mission. Joshua is a parishioner at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center in Tempe, Arizona, where he serves in many capacities to shine for the New Evangelization!