About the Book
In the modern world, Christianity has come to be seen by many as an unintellectual, uninspiring, and unthreatening worldview. But the classical Christian tradition of mystics, saints, and scholars reveals something quite different: the most engaging, surprising, and strange of all the religious paths.
The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path is an instructive guide through the breathtaking reality of what it means to be a Christian: to be holy with the very holiness of God, which means conformity with a love unto death. Speaking not just as a theologian or a preacher but as a pastor, Bishop Barron lays out his famous three paths to holiness—finding the center, knowing you’re a sinner, and realizing your life is not about you—and concretizes them with practical actions.
“Whatever Christianity is,” Bishop Barron writes in his concluding meditation, “it is something strange.” Drawing on literary masters such as Evelyn Waugh and spiritual masters such as Thomas Merton, Bishop Barron invites readers to intimacy with God through imitation of God’s own self-gift in Christ.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE: Strange Christianity
INTRODUCTION: Paths and Practices
Chapter 1 - Walking the First Path
Finding the Center
Chapter 2- Walking the Second Path
Knowing You're a Sinner
Chapter 3 - Walking the Third Path
Realizing Your Life Is Not About You
Concluding Meditation - The Strangest Way
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What People Are Saying...
What a wonderful book! Drawing on a wide variety of sources, theological and literary, Robert Barron helps us find a way through the darkness of our imaginations. What a gift!
Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University Divinity School
Bishop Barron has the rare talent of making ancient, timeless truths applicable to our twenty-first-century worldview, then taking that worldview and helping us reshape it into the mold of that immutable wisdom. As a convert from a lifetime of being Protestant, I appreciate his winsome ways of leading us to beauty, then goodness, and finally truth. These were no small stepping stones on my journey to a deeper faith. And this is what he does with The Strangest Way, reminding us that the hope of Christ is hope for the whole world, even though it’s so antithetical to our culture steeped in modernism; in fact, this is precisely why it’s the hope. We urgently need this message more than ever.
author of At Home in the World, Shadow & Light, and Bitter & Sweet
Bishop Barron once again shows that he has a special gift for revealing the general and complex truths of philosophy and theology in the vitality and color of the particular: through art, through the lives of exemplary Christians, and in our everyday experiences. This book is a timely reminder that Christianity is not beige, bland, or reflective of the status quo, but strange, mysterious, beautiful, and profoundly life-altering. More importantly, Barron urges us here not just simply to have orthodoxy (right belief), but orthopraxy (right practice)—and he is helpfully specific about the practices we need to adopt in order to walk the strange path of Christianity with more purpose, direction, and attention.
—Jennifer A. Frey
Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and host of the Sacred and Profane Love podcast
Bishop Robert Barron’s The Strangest Way is an eminently readable, yet quite substantive, text on the centrality of Christ as God’s overture of love to all of humanity. Rejecting all Cartesian attempts to reduce Christ to a quasi-Gnostic interior movement, it emphasizes throughout that a commitment to the uniqueness of the Incarnation of God in human history requires a total conversion of the entirety of our existence into a set of ‘practices’ that embody the new divine life that Christ communicates to the disciple. Bishop Barron combines profound theological analysis with practical insights on how to appropriate God’s Christological grace into a thrilling spiritual journey. An added bonus are the many forays into literature (Dante, Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, et al.) that deftly illustrate the main themes of the text and underscore the ‘strange’ and shocking nature of the Christian claim. The text is a masterful call to reject all forms of lukewarm and ‘beige’ Christianity and to embrace the true radicality of the Gospel.
retired Professor of Theology, DeSales University
With his usual clarity and brilliant synthesizing, Bishop Barron illuminates the strange way of the Gospel. He shows us how to break out of our apathy to pursue the path of holiness and to understand, as Flannery O’Connor put it, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.’ Here’s to embracing the glorious oddness of the Christian life!
author of The Grace of Enough and co-host of The Fountains of Carrots podcast