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Products>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

, 2019
ISBN: 9781493426027

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Publishers Weekly starred review

Named One of the Top 100 Books and One of the 5 Best Books in Religion for 2019 by Publishers Weekly

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.

Resource Experts
  • Brings Augustine to life for 21st-century readers
  • Explores topics including friendship, freedom, parenthood, and death
  • Shows how Augustine can be a pilgrim guide to spirituality
  • Heart on the Run
  • Augustine Our Contemporary
  • A Refugee Spirituality
  • Freedom
  • Ambition
  • Sex
  • Mothers
  • Friendship
  • Enlightenment
  • Story
  • Justice
  • Fathers
  • Death
  • Homecoming

Top Highlights

“Freedom is the right to be titillated, entertained, absorbed, all on one’s own terms. Freedom is freedom from, and the way to get from is to leave.” (Page 61)

“This might explain why he would come to identify happiness with rest.” (Page 10)

“ ‘To desire the aid of grace is the beginning of grace.’20” (Page 67)

“This is the road trip in which Augustine finally saw himself, and it becomes the literary skeleton of the Confessions, a travelogue of the human heart. The reason Augustine tells his story is that he thinks it is simply an example of the human story—that we are all prodigals—and he wants us to ask ourselves a question: ‘What if I went home?’” (Page 11)

“Milan—success, conquest, arrival—was experienced as one more letdown. What looks like the good life is experienced as loss of nothing less than one’s self. Just as the prodigal son spends down his inheritance to nothingness, so the wandering, ravenous soul consumes everything and ends up with nothing: no identity, no center, no self.” (Page 12)

Smith opens this book by placing the contemporary culture of seeking the real, authentic self alongside the works of Augustine; then he continues by placing our contemporary experience alongside Augustine’s biography; both moves yield a fund of interesting insights.

—Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

As the author well says, this is not a book about St. Augustine. But it certainly is a guide for reading Augustine as he wrote and would probably prefer to be read, with a restless heart.

—Justo L. González, author of The Mestizo Augustine

James K.A. Smith (PhD, Villanova University) is the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was editor in chief of Comment magazine from 2013 to 2018 and is now editor in chief of Image journal. Smith is the author or editor of many books, including the Christianity Today Book Award winners Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, and is editor of the well-received Church and Postmodern Culture series, and has written for Christianity Today, First Things, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Washington Post.



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  1. Aaron Smith

    Aaron Smith