This Novel By Johnny Cash Helped Me Become Catholic


Johnny Cash and Jesus Christ share the initials “J.C.” Johnny Cash is an adopted son of my home state of Tennessee. Johnny Cash wrote a novel called Man in White, which I read as I began my journey to the Catholic Church. It is the story of the conversion of St. Paul, and it was so good that I couldn’t believe Johnny Cash wrote it.

I found my copy in my local public library. I enjoyed the book so much, that I gave a copy of it to a guy I know who really digs Johnny Cash and Jesus too; I gave it to my Dad for Christmas a few months before I was received into the Catholic Church. Oh, it flat blows away anything I ever read about St. Paul, except for maybe what St. Luke wrote in Acts of the Apostles.

More on that later, perhaps (and on Johnny’s correspondence Bible school diploma), but for now I just want to share the post my friend is writing after I suggested he might like the novel  too. He was giving a talk about the Advent Conspiracy at a Theology on Tap event in my town. Afterwards, we chased down fish & chips with a couple of Guinesses and I said, “Did you know Johnny Cash wrote this outstanding novel about St. Paul? It was so good, it blew me away.”

I’ll let Fr. Christian Mathis of Blessed is the Kingdom take up the story from there. Why a novel about St. Paul? I’ll let Johnny expalin,

Well, I decided, if theologians can do so much speculating and make it interesting, I might throw in my two cents worth. After all, Paul had become my hero. He was invincible! He made it his life’s mission to conquer and convert the idolatrous, pagan world over to Jesus Christ. And he did everything he planned that he lived long enough to do.

Sing it Johnny,

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  • Jessica

    I read Johnny Cash’s autobiography, “Man in Black” earlier this year. His conversion story is pretty compelling. Not only did he convert and clean up his life, he really dove into Christianity by reading and writing extensively and visiting Israel. “Walk the Line” didn’t do justice to this hugely important part of Cash’s life story.

    • Frank Weathers

      And he did complete correspondence courses from ‘Christian International,” about which he said,

      This is only the beginning. All my degree means to me is that I am now qualified to study the Bible.

      Check out the introduction to Man In White here.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Damn, that Scots-Irish keening gave me the shivers.

    • Frank Weathers

      Doesn’t it though? ;)

  • Mary

    His Ultimate Gospel CD is awesome….”That’s enough” has been replayed lots this week! I took a pic of his “Man in Black” hand written lyrics sheet that he gave to Elvis (it is in Graceland) Have you been to Nashville? Sun Studios is so great for learning the history of Rock and to learn about Johnny’s music and life. This book is on my “to read” list!