Editor’s Note: Matthew Chicoine interviewed Mike Tenney via phone call on November 2, 2022. Some of the questions have been rearranged and edited to provide the best reader experience without losing any integrity of the answers given.
What inspired you to begin Pop Culture Catechism?
I have found since I was in high school I have had a gift explaining the faith to others in an understandable way. I spent 14 years in Catholic schools teaching theology. Developments in my wife’s career and having kids helped to lead me toward this path. This podcast seems to be a natural use of my talents and experiences. It seems like a perfect nexus of my skills, passions, and experiences.
Describe your Catholic journey (so far).
I’m a cradle Catholic but had an reawakening through youth group in high school. I also discerned the priesthood and went on some mission trips. I also served with the Capuchin Volunteer Corp immediately after college. Every few years, I have had these amazing spiritual highs.
What have been joys you experienced with this podcast?
The biggest joy is all the people who have reached out to me. Especially those who aren’t faithful Catholics. I’ve had a few friends who I lost touch with and who I have since rekindled a friendship with. Now I’m getting to be a religion teacher for my friends and family.
Students have reached out. My target audience is my former students.
What have been some obstacles you encountered?
Finding good guests has been one of the toughest challenges. It is tough to align with relevant topic and on people’s minds, or a piece of art that speaks to it, and there’s also guest who’s knowledgeable and passionate about it.
Who is your favorite musical artist?
I have an eclectic taste but alternative rock is my home base. Some of my favorite musical artists include: U2, Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, Counting Crows, and Elevation Worship.
How important is Saint Teresa of Avila to you and your faith life?
I discovered Saint Teresa through a book about Saint John of the Cross. My mother-in-law was named Teresa. And I discovered her through Saint Ignatius. The two key concepts is finding these rooms inside yourself and what a castle for. It’s a place of protection and the king lives there.
How can my readers find you?