My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Review: The Augustine Way: Retrieving a Vision for the Church's Apologetic Witness

The Augustine Way: Retrieving a Vision for the Church's Apologetic Witness The Augustine Way: Retrieving a Vision for the Church's Apologetic Witness by Joshua D Chatraw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book starts with the proposition that current day apologetics is not working because it is missing a spiritual/pastoral element. In other words, the goal is to win the argument and not convert the sinner. Ultimately this approach fails because the focus on attack just makes the target defensive (and at best unengaged). Anecdotally I find a lot of support for this idea and I was very curious as to how this book would tackle the problem. It does so by looking at two primary works of St Augustine: Confessions and City of God. Rather than a detailed interpretation of what Augustine actually said in each of these, the authors are more concerned with how he does it … the method he uses and how that method can be adapted to our current day circumstance.

The basic idea is something of a trojan horse approach. First acknowledge that some truths are possible in other traditions and by exploring their belief together without simply attacking. Then you may highlight the parts of their belief that don’t work for you (in other words, ask questions about the parts that don’t makes sense for you and explore the answers together). This is referred to in Chapter 5 Step 1. After that, you may introduction your own [christian] beliefs and illustrate how they offer a more complete answer for you and invite them to try it out. This is Chapter 5 step 2.

Over all I didn’t find anything particularly earth shattering or hard to accept (there were a few places that I had trouble understanding); I can say that it put words and structure (with supporting citations) to much of what I already felt to be true, so I can say that this is an excellent addition to a conversation that should be happening amongst christian apologists and evangelists.

Part 1: Going Back for the Future
1. A Prodigal Son Returns Home … as an Apologist
2. An Augustinian Assessment of Contemporary Apologetics

Part 2: An Augustinian Visions for Today
3. A Renewed Posture
4. An Ecclesial Pilgrimage of Hope
5. A Therapeutic Approach
Step 1: Exploratory Surgery — an Immanent Critique
Step 2: Holistic Therapy — Subversive Fulfillment through a Better Story

Conclusion: The Return of the Bishop

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheAugustineWay #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.