Tom Clements’ spiritual journey has been a circuitous one, with a few speed bumps and detours along the way. As a cradle Catholic, he went from being an altar boy and daily communicant to spending several years searching for joy and fulfillment in a non-denominational faith. Not finding the fulfillment he was seeking, Tom returned to the Catholic Church, where he has spent decades deepening his faith and his relationship with God.
Having experienced his own winding journey of faith, Tom has recently written a book called The Path to Joy: Navigating the Stages of Faith. This newly published book maps the faith journey in clear and practical steps, from Stage One (I Believe in God) to the ultimate stage (Union with God). Along the way, Tom provides humor and examples of his own successes and setbacks throughout his own walk to joy.
Tom was inspired not only from his own faith journey, but by his career in software – Tom started one of the first Intranet companies in the United States, selling it in 1999, and it is this experience and expertise in problem-solving and processing that he brings to The Path to Joy. “I think our world today is interested in process – you can watch a YouTube video on how to fix something, you can do a google search to understand how a machine works, or how to get from point A to point B,” says Tom. “I’m process-oriented, and sometimes when I read the mystics, they were too mystical! My intent in writing this book was to provide a plan and a process to understanding our faith continuum, and how to grow in faith.”
This process-oriented approach was particularly helpful to Tom not only in examining his own faith journey, but also when inviting others to encounter Christ. “I knew you were supposed to meet people where they’re at, but how do we know where they are? I needed to find out where people were on their journey so that when they asked questions, I could appropriately respond.” The book offers answers to both questions: “What are the stages that I have taken in my faith journey, and where do I go next?” and “How do I work with others to help them grow closer to Christ?”
In writing The Path to Joy, Tom wanted to help people to understand where they (and others they may encounter) are in their faith process, in a way that is easy to read and easy to understand. Reflection questions at the end of each chapter (“Are you searching to know God better?”, “Are you fearful about what others think about you?”, “Do you admit when you are wrong?”) help readers process the information on complex spiritual matters in a simple, personal and practical way.
One of the main themes of Tom’s book is the virtue of joy through gratitude. Tom had spent much of his life seeking satisfaction in achievement and success, but it wasn’t until he turned to God in humble gratitude that he finally found the joy and fulfillment he had been seeking. In the first stage of the book’s journey, Tom invites readers to list 100 things for which they are grateful, and examine what they have personally done to deserve those 100 things, how those gifts have allowed to them to realize some success, and to whom do they feel truly grateful, and he returns to this theme of joy through gratitude throughout the book.
Since Tom sold his software company in 1999, he has been busy: he started Southern Catholic College, the first Catholic College in Georgia, in 2001; he spearheaded the founding and construction of a residential Catholic high school in Ghana with his wife; and he has spent the last 20 years of his life in non-profits, including serving on the advisory board for Regnum Christi. But for Tom, his greatest accomplishment is bringing joy – and Christ – to the people he encounters every day. “What God has called me to do right now is to be Christ to the person in front of me, to be a joyful person, to see the good in others, to encourage others, and have them feel some of that joy,” says Tom. “If this book just touches one person, changes one person, what a gift that would be.”
Tom is a member of the Atlanta Regnum Christi section. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, and is Chairman of the Board of Catholic Worldview Fellowship, an apostolate directed by Father Ryan Richardson, LC. To find out more about Tom’s book The Path to Joy: Navigating the Stages of Faith, and his practical and process-oriented approach to the spiritual life, visit his website at thepath2joy.com, or purchase the book on Amazon. To contact Tom for more information or to book him as a speaker for your event, email [email protected].