A few months back I saw Devin Rose post something on Facebook about his new book and I was intrigued. When I finally saw the title I knew this was a book I was going to have to read. I was so excited when I got the opportunity to do this book review and started reading it the day it arrived in my mailbox. It did not disappoint!
Navigating the Tiber: How to Help your Friends and Family Journey Toward the Catholic Faith by Devin Rose is, to my knowledge, the only book that is written specifically for Catholics with the intent of helping them to explain the faith and plant the seeds of conversion for their Protestant friends and family. As a cradle Catholic with plenty of Protestant friends and several family members who have fallen away from the Church, I found this book not only useful but also enlightening.
My understanding of the various Protestant faiths is fairly limited. I grew up in the Bible belt and the vast majority of Christians I knew were Protestants. But I rarely attended any of their church services and the differences in our faiths were never important enough to discuss. As I entered into college faith wasn’t at the top of my priority list and I fell away from the practice of my Catholic faith. I still attended Mass on occasion and if asked I would have told you I was Catholic. Beyond that, I was pretty much a CINO (Catholic in name only). I embraced my faith in my late-twenties and have never turned back. All this to say, one of the aspects of Devin’s book that I found particularly good was his break down of the various Protestant denominations and his brief explanations of their theology.
As a side note, when I was in college studying music I had an accompanist that I enjoyed playing with and he and I often got together in practice rooms just to read music together. He often joked with me about the Calvinist (him) and the Catholic (me) getting along so well. I must admit, I never really understood why that was funny. Thanks to Devin’s explanations I have a better understanding.
Navigating the Tiber is also a very useful book. I really enjoyed that Devin kept things simple. He knows that not everyone is an apologist and so he sets this book up to help keep you on track and not get too bogged down in deep theological discussions that might get out of hand. I’m no apologist, so I appreciated this very much. Devin sets out all the reasons why we have to have a canon of Scripture and why that’s important. Throughout the book, no matter what the topic, he often refers things back to the canon. Without a canon, there is no Bible; without the Bible, Protestants have nothing to stand on. I really liked this simple way of looking at pretty much any issue in our Catholic faith.
And Devon touches on many issues. He basically gives you a blueprint for how to set up a discussion, what topics to touch on when, and how to handle different avenues of disagreement. In all of this, he is great at continually reminding his readers that your friendship with the person is first and foremost. Not to mention also that charity and respect are critical to any conversation. Devon also lets you know when it is wise to step away from a conversation. Sometimes there is not much more you can do than to pray for a person and entrust them to God.
Devin has provided a great resource in Navigating the Tiber for Catholics who want their friends and family to find the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church. While there is no guarantee that our friends and family will convert and/or embrace the Catholic faith, we can help plant some seeds that may grow in the years to come. Either way, I believe Devin has outlined a roadmap that can lead to fruitful discussions regardless of whether a person converts or not.
This is a book well-worth reading!! Go to the Catholic Answers Shop to find it. Navigating the Tiber by Devin Rose is currently available as a paperback for $11.95 or as an eBook for $8.99 (looks like those are sale prices at this moment).
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and all opinions are mine.
Kerri Baunach is a Catholic wife and mother of three boys (plus three in heaven). She and her family live in beautiful central Kentucky where she is active in her church, a member of Cursillo, and a Benedictine Oblate. Kerri often writes on her Catholic faith, pregnancy loss, her kids, and pro-life issues. Kerri is a former music librarian (16 years) now stay-at-home mom, was a musician for over 20 years, loves taking her kids to the library (and loves that they love it), is passionately pro-life, can’t cook, and has lived in six states. In additional to writing at Catholic Sistas you can also find Kerri on her own blog at Journal of a Nobody.