J. Peter NixonNovember 14, 2005 - 5:10am0 comments
Bridging the Great Divide
by Robert Barron
One of the hazards of a clever book title is that it sometimes promises more than it can deliver. A reader who picks up Robert Barron’s latest work looking for some as-yet-untried way to heal Catholicism’s increasingly bitter divisions is likely to be disappointed. Barron is less interested in finding “common ground” than he is in articulating a vision of Catholic Christianity that can fire the imagination and inspire a renewed effort to evangelize American culture.
Barron is an intriguing theologian who deserves to be more widely known. A professor at Mundelein Seminary, he is more than conversant with the argot of academic theology and philosophy. But his published writings have consciously targeted a broader audience. A constant theme in his work is the power of beauty to reveal God. In works like ...And Now I See and The Strangest Way, he draws on writers like Dante, Flannery O’Connor, and Evelyn Waugh to illustrate the great themes of Christianity. His short book, Heaven in Stone and Glass, takes us on a tour of the great Gothic cathedrals to show us how architecture can capture the truths of Christianity in a beautiful way.
In Bridging the Great Divide, a new collection of Barron’s essays, he argues that Christianity has become far too accommodating to the economic and cultural imperatives of modernity, offering a bland and unthreatening gospel that fails to inspire. This is a complaint often...