Charles Chaput is the Philadelphia priest who has authored a new book, “Strangers in a Strange Land,” which offers a vivid critique of American life today and a guide to how Christians—and particularly Catholics–can live their faith vigorously (and even with hope!) in a post-Christian public square.
In a way slightly different than Matthew Kelly, this is a fresh, urgent, and ultimately hopeful treatise on the state of Catholicism and Christianity in the United States. America today is different in kind, not just in degree, from the past, especially in the areas of problems in the content and execution of the education system; the decline of traditional religious belief among young people; the shift from organized religion among adults to unbelief or individualized spiritualities; changes in legal theory and erosion in respect for civil and natural law; significant demographic shifts; profound new patterns in sexual behavior and identity; the growth of federal power and its disregard for religious rights; the growing isolation and elitism of the leadership classes; a declining of a sustaining sense of family and community and economic changes that widen the gulf between rich and poor.
What I’ve liked about it so far is that it focuses on what we each can do—in terms of living and standing for what we each believe—rather than sliding into political or media-driven debates that don’t lead to much. At Thoughts on the Rocks this week, we discussed the things we can certainly do for others: help, rescue, counsel, lend expertise, network/connect people with those who can help, invite someone to ToTR or church or maybe just over to our house, club or favorite restaurant.
Jesus said “to whom much is given, much will be required.” I know that I am more inspired by helping another than just complaining about what’s wrong with our society. It’s one right we all have that works for us. And it works for those we’re reaching out to. And heaven is pleased. It’s how I make this strange land feel less strange. I hope we can continue to help each other do the same. Make it a Super Great week! –Doug
P.S. If you’d like info for our Montana fishing trip, Sept. 5-10, ping us back and we’ll send the info!