Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
June 1 is a special day for me, and it has been for the last 20 years.
One reason is that it's the memorial day of St. Justin Martyr, who is one of the main patron saints of apologists.
As an apologist, that makes it special to me.
But there is another reason as well.
I didn't plan it this way, but my report-to-work day at Catholic Answers happened to be June 1.
It's a significant day to embark on a career of apologetics, and I've always regarded it as a gift of divine providence.
Since I started doing apologetics professionally on June 1, 1993, that makes June 1, 2013 my 20th anniversary in the field. (Professionally speaking, at least; I'd been doing apologetics informally before that or I wouldn't have got the job.)
So this June 1 is my platinum anniversary, and I'm celebrating.
The More Things Change . . .
Things have changed a lot in the field of apologetics in the last twenty years.
One of the biggest changes was the commercial availability of the Internet, which emerged from its shadowy origins as a DARPA research project to facilitate communication during a nuclear war and became the civilization-changing technology that it is today.
When I started in apologetics, it was uncommon for anybody to have an email address, and research was done exclusively though books and journals.
When I wanted to find something out, I think, "What book or journal should I look in to find the answer to this?"
I remember the moment in the mid-1990s when I realized that--via the Internet--I had the World's Greatest Research Library sitting on my desktop. A light went on in my head, and I said, "From now on, this is going to be the thing I turn to first to find research leads on a question." (Of course, that still means verifying the data, since not everything you read on the Internet is true.)
The advent of the Internet opened up new possibilities for apologetics as well. I've tried to be an early-adopter as web-based opportunities have come along, and in the mid-90s, I started a web site, which still exists today as JimmyAkin.com.
I've also done work in other media, including publishing books, booklets, and audio sets, appearing on Catholic radio (which has blossomed in recent years), and reaching out in every practical way I can think of.
My goal has been to reach as many people for Christ as I can, through the best means I have available to me, and to do so in a way that's fair, accurate, kind, and--when appropriate--playful.
BTW, if I've helped you--in person or at a distance--in the last twenty years, I'd love to hear how I've done so. Just let me know in the comments box or by email.
It's been my honor to serve Christ and serve others these last twenty years.
Here's hoping for twenty more.
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In the meantime, what do you think?