The Catholic Briefcase

November 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Conversion, Faith, Work


It’s the little things in life that sometimes make a huge difference.

Case in point: my introduction to Randy Hain. It all began with a passing comment in a conversation with Tom Peterson, Founder and President of CatholicsComeHome.org.

Tom was visiting The Coming Home Network’s world headquarters (well, really our small office in rural Ohio) to be a guest on The Journey Home show a while back, and we hit it off right away. Upon hearing that I was writing a book on living out the faith in the workplace, he asked me if I had heard of a new web site, IntegratedCatholicLife.org (ICL).

As it turned out, this brief interaction led me to visit the site – and what a site it is. I was soon introduced to Randy Hain and Mike Bickerstaff, the founders, and became a contributing writer. It was clear to me from the beginning that these guys are doing tremendous work for the Church from their parish home in Atlanta.

But that’s not the end of it. I soon found out that Randy Hain was writing his first book on a familiar subject – integrating our faith and work. Seriously? Randy is also scheduled to be a guest on The Journey Home program soon. Mere coincidence? I think not!

Getting to know Randy has been like discovering a brother I never knew existed.

Recently, I was honored that Randy asked me to read an advance copy of his book, The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work. Naturally, there was some curiosity on my part as to how he would approach the subject, since we both have such a passion for the topic. I wasn’t surprised to find that he has written a solid, thought-provoking book, worthy of every Catholic briefcase in America (and Canada, for that matter).

Interestingly enough, our two books are similar in some ways, and completely different in others. As similar as two enthusiastic converts to the faith can be about the opportunity that lies in an integrated life. As different as Randy Hain and Kevin Lowry are in DNA structure, personality and professional background. He’s a professional recruiter, I came up through finance and later operations.

Having said all that, I loved the book. Start with the foreword. It’s by Patrick Lencioni, the author of one of my favorite business books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Solid gold. Beyond that, each chapter is eminently practical in its approach – like Randy’s articles on ICL, there are suggestions for how to implement and live out the subject matter, and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter.

For the record, the edits on my book, Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck were done before I picked this up for the first time. Because if you read both books, you’ll see that we followed a similar format in terms of the action items and questions for reflection in each chapter.

One thing that I really like about Randy’s approach is the interviews of various people about particular subjects. The one that stuck with me most was the interview of David Murphy in the chapter entitled Better Decision-Making. David’s approach is right on, I love the gratitude he expresses for the so-called “little things” in life and his focus on making decisions that are consistent with God’s will. I tuned right in to the pauses for mental prayer throughout the day, constantly seeking God every step of the way.

The other thing that really struck me about the book is the appendices, especially (and unexpectedly) the one called Road Map for Building a Catholic Business Group. It’s a very thorough consideration of why such groups are important, and how to build one that makes a difference in the lives of its members. I am privileged to participate in my local Legatus chapter, and find this completely fulfilling, but Randy’s road map is worthy of serious consideration for those who don’t have such an opportunity.

As a grateful convert, I know another one when I see him. Randy Hain is a gift to the Church, and I count myself as a fan. As Randy knows, the little things in life really do make a huge difference – like his book. You’ll certainly reap extraordinary dividends when you read The Catholic Briefcase.

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