Amateur Catholic

We don't write books or do speaking tours.
In fact, we barely do our jobs.
-We're the B-Team of Catholic Bloggers-

This is the home of the Amateur Catholic® bloggers - or as we like to refer to ourselves, the B-team. We don't write books or do speaking tours. In fact, we barely do our jobs. That's not to say we're unambitious though... You see, this coalition is just the second phase our blogoshpere conquest. We suppose you could think of us as amateur crusaders too.

Membership will not bring you any money, perks, notoriety, or prestige - but you will get the privilege of proudly displaying the B-team badge on your blog! Lucky you, huh?

amateurcatholic @

If you are hosting a conference, parish function, or some other event and can not afford the exorbitant fees typically associated with a Professional Catholic®, please contact one of our members. We like to hear ourselves talk just as much as the Professional Catholics® do, we just don't charge you for it. But hey give us a meal, free beer, and a designated driver, and we'll speak about breaking the Da Vinci Code or anything else you might care to hear about.

The B-Team badge is copryright 2006, The B-Team Bloggers®. Of course, we're Amateur Catholics®, so if you use the badge without permission (enrolled membership), we won't hunt you down and make you cough up your hard-earned bucks. Just have fun with it and maybe buy us a beer next time you're in town.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

"Amo, Amas, Amat..."

The word "amateur" is derived from the Latin noun amator for "lover," and/or the Latin verb amare, which means "to love."

Now, when you put it that way, it's not nearly as bad, is it?

There is nothing wrong with making a living writing about one's Faith. Most of those who do so aren't exactly making a killing at it (unless you're promoting every would-be Marian apparition under the sun, but that's another story).

The problem has arisen from expecting this technology to be the level playing field, only to learn that every professional piece ever written on the subject of "Catholic weblogs" describes the same few people who probably don't need a weblog for the world to have heard of them. (That's what publishers are for.) So, given that scenario, what's the difference with opening the medium to the average Joe? Where's the "value added," as they say in the corporate world?

Answer: there isn't any. Hence the collective "begging to disagree" during the recent "Catholic Blog Awards." The status quo can assure us it's "all in fun." Well, fortunately there's no monopoly on fun yet, so if there's room for one more...

My name is David Lawrence Alexander, the author of the weblog man with black hat. I'm a fifty-one year old graphic designer working for the Federal government. I have a little townhouse in the south of Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from what is politely referred to as "the Nation's capital." My twenty-year-old son Paul (from a previous life) lives with me. My companion "Sal" hangs out on the weekends. (No, we are not living in sin. Like I'd go broadcasting that here, right?)

My roots in the southwest quadrant of Ohio date back over a century and a half, at least five generations. The majority of my ancestors came from the Alsace-Lorraine region of what was sometimes Germany, but what is now France. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, just three days after Christmas, and the worst time of the year to have a birthday. My parents have always sent me a card, if no one else did, and if only out of guilt.

When I was still in the cradle, we moved to a village just east of Cincinnati (and closer to our "kin and ken") known as Milford, where I lived until I moved to DC in 1980. The oldest of four -- boy, girl, boy, girl, in that order -- I attended Catholic grade school and high school. From there, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati. After two years of various studio assignments, I got the big break from my rich uncle. (Sam. Maybe you know him.) I have been on his payroll every since. To this day, I am the only member of my immediate family to have left the Cincinnati area. I sign all my letters home, "Your long lost son..."

Along the way, I learned to play both the guitar and the banjo (the latter in the old-time mountain style; I don't do bluegrass), and can fake my way through several other instruments laying around the house. I've also been known to sing. In addition, I have been an avid folkdancer for nearly a quarter century. My favorite genre are zydeco (the music and dance of the Creole people of southwest Louisiana), Swing, and Latin (you know -- salsa, merengue, that sort of thing). Thankfully, Sal loves to dance, and as we say back home, she "cleans up real good."

At 11, I became an altar boy (and I'm into Latin there too); at 17, an Eagle Scout; at 35, a purple belt in karate. I still claim all three titles.

In addition, I'm working toward a degree in multimedia and web design at the Art Institute of Washington. I also spend a few hours a week as a Boy Scout commissioner (because there's something about a man in uniform...).

I read too much for my own good, which was enough to make me think I should never have an unpublished thought -- hence the entry into blogdom nearly four years ago. I suppose it was inspired by something Thomas Storck wrote in The Catholic Milieu: "Our entire daily lives cannot be occupied with purely religious practices; all of us have to eat, and most of us have and want to do many other activities besides. So though we cannot always be religious in this sense, we can always be Catholic, that is, the round of our daily activities can be conducted in such a way as to express and be in harmony with our Faith. And [this] can involve more than avoiding sin and exercising virtue..."

In other words, it would seem that the way in which I was raised was ultimately more than a religion, in terms of pious practices and trying not to have too much fun. It is, rather, what the Greeks called a phronema -- that is, a "mind set," or a "way of looking at things." Those expecting a warmed-over catechism lesson aren't going to get it from me. I'm not that good at playing a "pious Joe," and besides, there are others who do it much better. And get paid.

I sometimes do write about "religious stuff," usually folk customs with Catholic origins (like the true meaning of Groundhog Day, or why St Paddy's Day is not just for the Irish), or arcane subjects like that whole "Latin Mass" thing that people stage Catholic jihads over. But in the end, if one can tell by my writing, that a Catholic wrote it, without my ever mentioning religion, then I've succeeded.

It can happen. As I always say in my e-mails, "Stay tuned, and stay in touch."


At 3/06/2006 4:25 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Hey, did I just set a record for "longest blog on a 'B list.'"???

At 3/06/2006 4:52 PM, Blogger hilary said...

Latin (you know -- salsa, merengue, that sort of thing).

How come those Latins name all their dances after food?

At 3/06/2006 5:12 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

I think a more important question would be: If Jesus was Jewish, how come he had an Hispanic name?

At 3/06/2006 6:07 PM, Blogger Der Tommissar said...

or arcane subjects like that whole "Latin Mass" thing that people stage Catholic jihads over


Oh, sorry..what were we talking about? I kinda blacked out there.

At 3/07/2006 12:45 PM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Wake up, Tommy. You were having a bad dream about the promulgation of the 1965 Missal to replace the other two. But it's not real...


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