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The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path Paperback – April 9, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (April 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157075408X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570754081
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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109 of 122 people found the following review helpful By John T. Farrell on August 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
In "The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path," Robert Barron argues for a Christianity rooted in spiritual praxis, not abstraction. Barron believes that Christian spirituality - traditionally expressed in movement, practice, and apprenticeship - has been worn thin by accommodation to modernity and become a faint echo of secular culture or a privatized set of convictions. He regards the deculturalization of Christianity as beginning in the subjectivity, rationalism, and suspiciousness of Cartesian philosophy. This cultural mindset was in turn taken up by Christian apologists like Schleiermacher, Tillich, and Rahner who reduced Christianity to something best understood as interior, subjective experience.
The antidote to this development, Barron believes, is a return to spiritual practices that celebrate the playful, embodied, patient, and irreducibly complex working of the mind. According to Barron, we must "plow, climb, will, act, decide, push our way" to insight. To embrace Christianity as a world and a form of life, Barron delineates three paths of spiritual practice. The first involves "finding the center" and is achieved by prayer, pilgrimage, use of religious articles, and fasting. The second, "knowing you're a sinner," is walked by means of confession, truth-telling, and forgiveness. The third, "realizing that life is not about you," is discovered through discernment, works of mercy, nonviolence, and liturgy.
An especially attractive feature of this book is Barron's use of literature to exemplify and expand on his three paths.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Adams on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Fr. Barron sets out three paths by which to walk "the strangest way" - those of finding the center (making Christ the center of our lives); knowing you're a sinner; and realizing your life is not about you. In describing each path, the author draws intelligently on theological and literary sources to give us a sense of the richness and profundity of the Christian faith. The book is not primarily a polemic against the dumbed down, accommodating, secularized, New Agey, or syncretistic strains of modern(ist) Christian spirituality, although these tendencies are duly noted by way of making the contrast to an alternative orthodox, adult spiritual practice.

In this respect, Barron distinguishes the spiritual search approach, whereby we seek the divine, to the "hound of heaven" understanding in which God's love pursues us. In contrast to an emphasis on the subjective, the interior, the psychological, the private experience, Barron emphasizes the Christian path as one walked in communion with the Church on earth in which the liturgy, the summit and source of Christian spirituality, unites us with the heavenly liturgy. It is a path that involves, especially in Lent, practices like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, the physical and earthly as well as the spiritual and supernatural--combined in the Incarnation, and in Christ's real presence in the bread and wine made with human hands.

In all this, Barron achieves at least two things supremely well in my view. As the title suggests, he makes the familiar strange, helping us see with new eyes how different Christianity is, with its representation, not of human bliss but of a crucified man as the expression of God's broken heart, his outpouring of love as well as of our sinfulness and need for it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on January 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Father Robert Barron's book titled THE STRANGEST WAY is an unusual and thoughtful book. Yet, Father Barron wrote a readable book which can be read and enjoyed by anyone "with residual common sense." The book is not some bland exposition or a weak "feel good" book but one that makes readers think.

Father Barron began this book with commentary about a meeting between Buddhist monks and Carmellite monks. As Father Barron carefully noted, one of the Buddhist monks was perplexed by the number of crucifixes (a suffering Christ on the Cross)for which they insisted an explatnation. Western Catholics may be surprised at such perplexity, but Father Barron was clear that this a good question. The perplexity was due to the fact that a suffering Christ is taken so much for granted in the West that Westerners have lost sight of what the Crucifixion and Ressurection means. Crucifixes are placed on walls, Rosaries, icons, art, etc. Father Barron thought the best depiction of the Passion of Christ was a painting done by Matthias Grueweld (1470-1528)which showed a misshapen Christ on the Cross in agony.

Father Barron wrote that the Crucifix had origins that religious people needed to relearn to find their place in God's "grand scheme of things." In other words religious convictions and the Faith should not be bland childish affairs. A phrase that Father Barron used many times is that men and women should be drawn to the center of the Faith and not distracted by obsticles such as media nonsense, superficial concerns (notice the stupid advertising), etc. The Faith requires "motion" which is important, and this can mean physical travel and spiritual journeys. Examples mentioned in the book included Dante (1265-1321)who found spiritual consolation while travelling in exile. St.
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