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From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism Paperback – October 8, 2012
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"Because of Chris Haw's beautiful prose, From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart reminded me of Thomas Howard's Christ the Tiger. Because of Haw's lucid line of thought, it reminded me of G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. But the book offers today's readers unique gifts as well, because Chris feels the peculiar challenges of the present moment. He proclaims a catholic faith (big or small "C") that is simultaneously rooted in history and engaged with our gritty, conflicted, often superficial, and yet profoundly questioning world."--Brian McLaren, Author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
"This book is really excellent, and reveals the maturity that seems to be showing itself in so many of our churches today. It is an ideal example of "non-dual thinking", the contemplative mind that can see 'beyond the shadow and the disguise' of things. Before returning to the Catholic Church, Chris Haw did courageously from the outside what so many of us cradle Catholics seldom do--but need to do--from the inside."--Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
"With an appealing candor and a storyteller's skill, Haw explores here a principal question of contemporary western Christianity: What is the role and proper place of the praxis, traditions, and theology of Inherited Church in shaping the religion of today's Christians? I must add as well that only rarely, if ever, have I seen a more persuasive or compelling apologia than the one he makes."--Phyllis Tickle, Author of The Great Emergence
"Chris Haw's journey from Willow Creek to Sacred Heart (and the Roman Catholic tradition) is an important addendum to the story of 21st century American Christianity--not only because Haw's journey is representative, but because he has engaged the questions that come up along the way so well. You don't need to believe that all roads lead to Rome to see that we can all learn something from a faithful pilgrimage in that direction."--Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author of The Wisdom of Stability
"Much more than an already fascinating Chestertonian re-discovery of the Catholic Faith, Chris Haws bears witness to the slow, patient, ideology-busting determination of God. This has brought him, via the dying reefs of Belize and the apocalyptic landscape of Camden, New Jersey into one of our faith's best-kept secrets: a deep, delighting love for our material, corporal, human life--in all its vulnerability."--James Alison, Author of Broken Hearts and New Creations
"This book is in part about why the Catholic communion is good, but it is not about why the Protestant communions are bad. It is blissfully free from polemics, which we don't need. Haw's book is a gift to a Church too often divided by 'conservatives' who demand submission and 'liberals' who demand freedom. Chris Haw has, through his witness and his words, opened up a broader vision of a truly Catholic life beautifully lived." --William Cavanaugh, Ph.D. , Professor of Catholic Studies and Senior Research Fellow, DePaul University
About the Author
He earned his double bachelor's degree in theology and sociology from Eastern University and his master's degree in theology and religious studies from Villanova. Upon returning from studies in Belize, Haw started an intentional community in an economically devastated section of Camden, New Jersey, which operates in partnership with Sacred Heart Church. This connection fostered Haw's reassessment of his own faith and in 2006 he returned to the Catholic Church. In 2008 he cowrote Jesus for President with Shane Claiborne. He has been interviewed by Christianity Today, Sojourners, CNN, and Al-Jazeera. Visit Haw online at chris-haw.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Every conversion story is unique, yet few are similar to Chris Haw's. In his new memoir, From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism (Ave Maria Press, paperback, 256 pages), Chris recounts how he went from leading worship at one of the largest megachurches in the country, to protesting on behalf of the homeless and hungry, and finally to a crumbling, urban parish in one of America's darkest cities.
Chris began as a Catholic--born, baptized, and raised. In his teen years, his mother brought him to Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, an evangelical community with over 25,000 members. She enrolled Chris in the youth group there and he was inspired by young Christians who were vibrant and excited about their faith. Soon, he was active in their music ministry, helping to lead worship services and small groups.
Through Willow Creek, Chris also met fellow radical Shane Claiborne. Together, the two young friends wrestled with Jesus' commands to truly know and love the poor. Like St. Francis and Dorothy Day before them, they took Jesus' words literally and sought a life of simplicity, compassion, and solidarity. They began meeting regularly with homeless friends on the street. They protested against injustice even unto jail. And they searched for true community amidst the backdrop of 21st-century suburban Christianity.
That search eventually drove Chris to Camden, NJ, a city plagued with drugs and crime.Read more ›
Chris was baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant, raised by a Catholic mother and Protestant father. Just before his confirmation at age 14, he heard of the Willow Creek youth program and started attending there.
This experience altered his life trajectory, he writes. He wanted to understand the world and the Gospel and how they related to each other. He pursued sociology and Christian theology at Eastern. He went on a study program to Belize and that experience convinced him he needed to face the destructive elements and economy of the U.S. During the Iraq war he joined the peace movement of the Quakers.
During his senior year at Eastern he heard a Catholic priest from Camden and Chris was inspired to move there. He and his wife moved into an area that looked like a war zone and formed an intentional Christian community. He began to attend the local Catholic church.
That was the first part of the book, the action. He writes about his thoughts in the second part of the book, contemplation.
He struggled with the ideas of being nondenominational, tradition, and ritual. This section helped me understand how he made the transition from Protestant thinking to Catholic.
Here is one example of his thinking process in giving up sola scriptura:
He shares how he came to believe that the Bible is a Church product, "or more particularly, the product of certain churches." (148) "The Jesus handed down to us is an interpreted Jesus. ...Read more ›
For those who have found this book via The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical or Jesus for President be ready for a book in the same vein but with more contemplation, reflection, and a stronger dose of how Chris' experiences and the traditions about which he writes can form your own spirituality. If Jesus for President is a book of action this is the corollary contemplation.
Additionally, Chris' desire to be sympathetic to each topic he approaches gives this book an incredibly well-rounded feel. For those looking for an UNapologetic book of Catholic Apologetics look elsewhere. Hewing closely to Chesterton's "democracy of the dead", Chris gives T/tradition a sound contextualizing while being open about the tensions he still experience with both the Catholic and Protestant traditions as well as their current forms.
The combination of Chris' authentic reflection on his own lived experience along with the diversity of minds from Rene Girard to Chesterton make this book truly artful and convincing without being either arrogant or coy. While I would definitely call this book theological in deference to its sources and thought it also has much to offer in the way of concrete spiritual practice that readers can easily attempt to access for themselves.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a beautiful and honestly rendered account of one man's journey of faith. I was so moved by Chris' willingness to share both his intellectual and spiritual journey as a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Zachary W Czaia
Mr. Haw chronicles his interesting spiritual/religious journey. But I found my reactions to be all over the place. Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by ChicagoKen
I really enjoyed this book--it's an easy read but touches on some very deep theological and spiritual issues. Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by C. Anderson
This book spoke to me in so many ways. It felt at times like I was reading some of my own story.
Last fall we moved out family to Williston, ND where my husband has been... Read more
My wife loves this book! It really does rekindle our love for Catholicism! Well written and worth the effort to read!Published on April 17, 2013 by V. O'CONNOR
I, like many others, was somewhat familar with Chris Haw after reading (more like devouring) "Jesus for President. Read morePublished on April 14, 2013 by Charlie H.
As a Catholic, I enjoyed reading Chris Haw's personal conversion story. It was not the most powerful conversion story I have read. Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by Veronica White
Not even sure where to start. This book is excellent. I happened upon Chris' Website and blog around Thanksgiving time, Finally got the book and read it this past month. Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by AndyChurray