By Strange Ways

Thomas Griffin 4/25/23 (For The University Bookman)

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Conversion, the redirecting of one’s life towards God and truth, is the entire mission of the Christian life. Too often, however, religion becomes perfunctory as we live our faith superficially rather than plumbing the depths of God’s majesty. To break out of the rut, we need a reboot—a refreshing of our perspective on what being a disciple is all about. Hearing the adventures that others have had in converting from other religions (even atheism) and ways of life to the Catholic faith can reignite love for God in our hearts. When these converts end up as leading theologians, an added mystique attaches to their tales. 

By Strange Ways: Theologians and Their Paths to the Catholic Church can provide that spark. Edited by Jonathan Fuqua and Daniel Strudwick, this work contains ten essays of current Catholic theologians who narrate their sometimes straight, sometimes circuitous, paths to the faith. 

The lives of these theologians are about study and getting to know the person of Jesus Christ more intimately. Yet their stories speak more of the action of grace than of the intellectual pursuit of theology. The source of their conversion is the One whom they want to know deeply, so they choose to devote their lives to learning and speaking about Him. 

A continuous vein among these evocative journeys is a personal and often vulnerable openness to seeking God in multiple ways. It is this willingness to seek and be open to the truth that is always a prerequisite for conversion. Christ does not impose—he proposes and allows each person to choose him or reject him. The lives of these theologians personify this fact. 

A collection of true stories like this ignites a spark inside of the everyday Catholic because it is a reminder of just how beautiful and even life altering the faith is meant to be. For a nonbeliever it can show that the Catholic faith is not meant to be merely passed down from one generation to the next but is one to be experienced, as if a man were courting in the most powerful love story ever told. For the believer in need of deeper conversion it can serve as a reminder of who we follow.

Read the Full Article HERE

Thomas Griffin is the chairperson of the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island where he lives with his wife and two sons. He has a masters degree in theology and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Empty Tomb Project: The Magazine.

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