On The Road With Saint Augustine
- Published: October 1, 2019
- Publisher: Brazos Press
- Page count: 256
- ISBN: 9781587433894
- eBook ISBN: 9781493419968
This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it's a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect.
Following Smith's successful You Are What You Love, this book shows how Augustine can be a pilgrim guide to a spirituality that meets the complicated world we live in. Augustine, says Smith, is the patron saint of restless hearts--a guide who has been there, asked our questions, and knows our frustrations and failed pursuits. Augustine spent a lifetime searching for his heart's true home and he can help us find our way. "What makes Augustine a guide worth considering," says Smith, "is that he knows where home is, where rest can be found, what peace feels like, even if it is sometimes ephemeral and elusive along the way." Addressing believers and skeptics alike, this book shows how Augustine's timeless wisdom speaks to the worries and struggles of contemporary life, covering topics such as ambition, sex, friendship, freedom, parenthood, and death. As Smith vividly and colorfully brings Augustine to life for 21st-century readers, he also offers a fresh articulation of Christianity that speaks to our deepest hungers, fears, and hopes.
Named One of the Top 100 Books and One of the 5 Best Books in Religion for 2019 by Publishers Weekly
"In this engrossing reflection on the human spiritual journey, philosophy professor Smith (You Are What You Love) uses the fourth-century Bishop of Hippo, Saint Augustine, as a guide for considering complex, timeless issues. . . . . Seeking Augustine's wisdom on questions--such as 'what do I want when I want to be noticed?' or 'to belong?' or 'to be rational?'--Smith illuminates Augustine's certainty that people find freedom and truth when they find themselves in God's story. By following Augustine's model and sharing his own faith journey, Smith makes Augustine's guidance accessible to a new generation of seekers."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Smith] employs St. Augustine of Hippo as a guide and conduit to discuss timeless, complex issues. . . . Informed by Smith's deep erudition, this deeply felt travelogue is equally spry and profound."
Publishers Weekly (a Best Book of 2019 in Religion)
"Dressed in lovely prose, the book . . . consider[s] how its central Roman African bishop addressed fundamental desires found in every human heart. Avoiding didactic pitfalls, Smith displays a willingness to dialogue with thinkers who may bump against his own convictions. . . . On the Road with Saint Augustine teems with beautiful spiritual insights. Here is meat and bread to satisfy the earnest and seeking postmodern soul."
Meagan Logsdon, Foreword Reviews
"Some of the deepest questions of my heart somehow found their way into Smith's book, and Augustine painted a way forward for my own heart's journey. . . . The best part of the book may be the way [Smith] writes. He personally inhabits his subject matter, the way Augustine did. I'd encourage you to read On the Road with Saint Augustine with your imagination and affections. Allow the book to probe into your most difficult questions. Perhaps it will help you reimagine your journey to the homeland you've always longed for."
Mark D. Allen, The Gospel Coalition
"This truly is one of the most highly anticipated and certainly will be one of the most significant spirituality books of the year. . . . [It is] both learned and fun; aware of ancient insights, contemporary realities, and the pop culture voices who remind us of our current age. It is rigorous, to be sure, but lively, moving from Augustine and his ancient contemporaries to Jack Kerouac to Jay Z to Heidegger to AA meetings to Camus to the films of Wes Anderson and back to Sal Paradise. It's a philosophical road trip as [Smith] takes us throughout Italy and offers glimpses of his own life. . . . [This book] deserves to be taken seriously."
Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books