James K.A. Smith: On the Road With Saint Augustine

A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts

On the Road With Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts
(Brazos Press, 2019)

WHO: James K.A. Smith, a professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he also holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview.

HE SAYS: “For Augustine, psychology is cartogrpahy: to understand oneself is a matter of mapping our penchant to look for love in all the wrong places. One’s own heart can be foreign territory, a terra incognita, and this lack of at-home-ness with oneself generates our propensity to run.”

THE BIG IDEA: This book shows how Augustine speaks to the worries and struggles of contemporary life.

This well-written, thoughtful book has a strong literary quality that readers will enjoy. Starting with “Orientation,” the author introduces readers to Augustine and how his wisdom can help us today. Part 2, “Detours on the Way to Myself,” is the main body of the book in which the author joins his travels to Augustine’s, and examines such topics as freedom, ambition, sex, justice, and more.

“There are ways in which the 20th century was Augustinian, which makes him our contemporary in ways we haven’t considered.”

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