Cyndi Kane was on a pilgrimage in Italy with her husband, John, in 2000 when she realized she’d been a lukewarm Catholic.
"We were always faithful. We were always at Mass every Sunday. Our hearts just weren’t enflamed," the Pawhuska, Okla., resident recently explained to the Catholic Courier.
Kane had a conversion experience during the pilgrimage, and when she returned she was an "on-fire Catholic," she said. Her passion for her faith still burns strongly within her, and she now regularly shares that passion with Christians from all around the globe through "Two Edge Talk," a podcast she produces with Deacon Timothy Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of Wayne County.
Kane interviews Deacon Sullivan about various faith-related topics about once a week, and Kane’s husband posts the resulting 15-minute conversations online at www.twoedgetalk.com and in Apple’s iTunes online store, where it is available as a free download. The pair try to help listeners live out an ancient faith in today’s modern world, Deacon Sullivan said. The podcast draws its name from Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword."
"We try to present the Catholic perspective on issues in a very nonthreatening, very nonaggressive way, and we also try to express it in language that’s not heavily theological," he said.
The topics of discussion cover everything from current events to elements of Catholicism that Protestants are curious about, Deacon Sullivan said, noting that quite a few Protestants tune into the podcasts. Between 35 and 70 people visit www.twoedgetalk.com on a typical day, and the podcasts have been accessed more than 100,000 times since the 2007 inception of "Two Edge Talk," Kane said.
Deacon Sullivan and Kane had been friends for several years before they joined forces to produce the podcast. Like "Two Edge Talk," their friendship was born as a result of the Kanes’ pilgrimage to Italy. Kane said that before the trip she had disagreed with the Catholic Church’s position on several issues, including birth control, but as she toured places like Rome and Assisi, she began to realize she couldn’t stop being a lukewarm Catholic until she dropped those personal disagreements.
"That was really a time when I said, ‘Am I in or am I out? Am I going to be wholeheartedly Catholic?’ That is what this church requires. It is not a church where you get to be your own pope," Kane said. "I decided that I was really going to be all in."
She decided not to use birth control, and at that point God opened up the floodgates of grace, she said.
"That was my starting point. It was simply a matter of obedience, and I really think God began to work in me," she said.
Upon returning home, Kane searched for a way to serve the church. Realizing that she and John had been blessed with a happy marriage, they decided to volunteer with the Diocese of Tulsa’s pre-Cana marriage-preparation classes. At that time, former lawyer Deacon Sullivan was coordinating the pre-Cana program while serving as the Tulsa Diocese’s family-life coordinator and as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa.
The Kanes became fast friends with Deacon Sullivan and his wife, Connie. When Kane started a Catholic program on a local radio station, Deacon Sullivan agreed to be a regular guest. He frequently called Kane at the radio station to be interviewed, but Kane fretted because she didn’t think many listeners tuned into the show.
"What Tim had to say was so profound and so insightful. I didn’t want it to be wasted," she said.
"Two Edge Talk" proved to be a suitable solution, since the recorded interviews are archived and remain on the website permanently. Although Deacon Sullivan left Oklahoma in 2008 for his current post at Catholic Charities of Wayne County, he still calls Kane at the radio station about once a week to record the next installment of the podcast.
Deacon Sullivan said his favorite topic to discuss on "Two Edge Talk" is the reasons for former Protestant ministers’ conversions to Catholicism. He has known several such converts, he said, and the same thing motivated all of them to convert.
"It’s because of the Eucharist. That’s why many Protestant ministers become Catholic, and why Protestants of all ages, shapes and sizes become Catholic," Deacon Sullivan said. "If you enter into the Eucharist willingly and prayerfully it will change your life, and you cannot get that anywhere other than the Catholic Church."
Sadly, many "cradle Catholics" either are unaware of the Catholic Church’s teaching that Jesus truly is present in the Eucharist, or else are "on autopilot" when they attend Mass, a reality Deacon Sullivan hopes to change.
"My mission in life to a great degree is helping people appreciate the power of the Eucharist," he said.