Strangers in A Strange Land

Strangers in A Strange Land

Living the Catholic Faith in A Post-Christian World

Book - 2017
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A vivid critique of American life today and a guide to how Christians--and particularly Catholics--can live their faith vigorously, and even with hope, in a post-Christian public square. From Charles J. Chaput, author of Living the Catholic Faith and Render unto Caesar comes Strangers in a Strange Land, a fresh, urgent, and ultimately hopeful treatise on the state of Catholicism and Christianity in the United States. America today is different in kind, not just in degree, from the past. And this new reality is unlikely to be reversed. The reasons include, but aren't limited to, economic changes that widen the gulf between rich and poor; problems in the content and execution of the education system; the decline of traditional religious belief among young people; the shift from organized religion among adults to unbelief or individualized spiritualities; changes in legal theory and erosion in respect for civil and natural law; significant demographic shifts; profound new patterns in sexual behavior and identity; the growth of federal power and its disregard for religious rights; the growing isolation and elitism of the leadership classes; and the decline of a sustaining sense of family and community.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781627796743
Characteristics: 271 pages ;,22 cm.


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Jun 02, 2017

Early on in Strangers in a Strange Land, Archbishop Chaput declares that his intended audience is "everyday Catholics who love Jesus Christ and his Church more than they love their own opinions". The word "love" is critical, since Chaput, unlike those for whom "truth" is no more than a political slogan, believes that Truth is not only real, but a Person - not only can Truth be sought but He is seeking us, and not only can Truth be found but finding Him demands a response from us, obligates us. So, too, the adjective "everyday", as the challenges of "living the Catholic faith in a post-Christian world" belong primarily not to the clergy but to an active laity aware of the grace granted to them by God - and aware also that for Christians this means not power and privilege but service and sacrifice. Finally, he might have said "more than their own illusions" or "more than the good opinion of their neighbors", since it is precisely these things which, he insists, we must be willing to lose if we are to follow "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" faithfully in twenty-first century America.

Archbishop Chaput has been alternately derided and celebrated as a "culture warrior", but no matter how accurate that title may be in recognizing his determination and courage, it does a major injustice to him if it is taken to imply that he is a partisan or a propagandist. To the contrary, Chaput is eminently sober, not given to rhetorical exaggeration, and gentle to his opponents without denying that opposition exists. Strangers in a Strange Land is consistent with this approach - thoughtful rather than bombastic, offering quiet strength instead of outrage.

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