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On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts

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This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it's a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect. Following Smith's successful You Are What You L This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it's a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect. Following Smith's successful You Are What You Love, this book shows how Augustine can be a pilgrim guide to a spirituality that meets the complicated world we live in. Augustine, says Smith, is the patron saint of restless hearts--a guide who has been there, asked our questions, and knows our frustrations and failed pursuits. Augustine spent a lifetime searching for his heart's true home and he can help us find our way. "What makes Augustine a guide worth considering," says Smith, "is that he knows where home is, where rest can be found, what peace feels like, even if it is sometimes ephemeral and elusive along the way." Addressing believers and skeptics alike, this book shows how Augustine's timeless wisdom speaks to the worries and struggles of contemporary life, covering topics such as ambition, sex, friendship, freedom, parenthood, and death. As Smith vividly and colorfully brings Augustine to life for 21st-century readers, he also offers a fresh articulation of Christianity that speaks to our deepest hungers, fears, and hopes.


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This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it's a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect. Following Smith's successful You Are What You L This is not a book about Saint Augustine. In a way, it's a book Augustine has written about each of us. Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith has spent time on the road with Augustine, and he invites us to take this journey too, for this ancient African thinker knows far more about us than we might expect. Following Smith's successful You Are What You Love, this book shows how Augustine can be a pilgrim guide to a spirituality that meets the complicated world we live in. Augustine, says Smith, is the patron saint of restless hearts--a guide who has been there, asked our questions, and knows our frustrations and failed pursuits. Augustine spent a lifetime searching for his heart's true home and he can help us find our way. "What makes Augustine a guide worth considering," says Smith, "is that he knows where home is, where rest can be found, what peace feels like, even if it is sometimes ephemeral and elusive along the way." Addressing believers and skeptics alike, this book shows how Augustine's timeless wisdom speaks to the worries and struggles of contemporary life, covering topics such as ambition, sex, friendship, freedom, parenthood, and death. As Smith vividly and colorfully brings Augustine to life for 21st-century readers, he also offers a fresh articulation of Christianity that speaks to our deepest hungers, fears, and hopes.

30 review for On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This is a unique and delightful book that rings with relevance for today.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Smith's premise here is exciting; a journey with Augustine through his Confessions to address our modern needs and questions. And for the most part he executes well on that promise. However, he brings a whole lot of other friends (the snobby French philosophical kind that roll their eyes at you because you've never seen that avant-garde film down at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema). And those other friends speak loudly throughout the book and say they are just ruminating with you on what Augustine s Smith's premise here is exciting; a journey with Augustine through his Confessions to address our modern needs and questions. And for the most part he executes well on that promise. However, he brings a whole lot of other friends (the snobby French philosophical kind that roll their eyes at you because you've never seen that avant-garde film down at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema). And those other friends speak loudly throughout the book and say they are just ruminating with you on what Augustine shared, but in the end you wish you had more time with the Saint, more time in his works, and less time with Camus or Heidegger. The message of the book is helpful, and I am sure that the well-educated philosophically inclined reader will thoroughly enjoy this book. But for the road traveller in me, I wish we could have heard more from Augustine, visited more of his places and had better companions than the heady over-thinkers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Poignant, personal, and beautiful. The chapters on ambition, sex, fathers, and death (odd combination, I know) made an indelible impression on me as I read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Haines

    Smith presents the reader with a beautiful roadmap to some of life's most important and difficult experiences, using Augustine as our guide. He interacts with many important contemporary thinkers, and shows how Augustine not only helps us think about and properly approach life and our living experience of it, but he also shows how Augustine answers many of the existential questions that gave been asked by contemporary thinkers. You don't have to agree on every point to be able to recognize that Smith presents the reader with a beautiful roadmap to some of life's most important and difficult experiences, using Augustine as our guide. He interacts with many important contemporary thinkers, and shows how Augustine not only helps us think about and properly approach life and our living experience of it, but he also shows how Augustine answers many of the existential questions that gave been asked by contemporary thinkers. You don't have to agree on every point to be able to recognize that this is an excellent book that should be read by all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Unchong Berkey

    Reading On the Road with Saint Augustine was like settling in to savor a bite of rich dessert. Throughout the chapters, I felt moved and desirous of lingering over the ways Augustine’s spirituality speaks to our deepest longings. Couple favorite quotes: “There is delight in the sojourn when we know where home is.” “Joy is arriving at the home you’ve never been to.” “Augustine’s refugee spirituality is an account of what the Christian life feels like. The disciple as much as anyone finds herself in Reading On the Road with Saint Augustine was like settling in to savor a bite of rich dessert. Throughout the chapters, I felt moved and desirous of lingering over the ways Augustine’s spirituality speaks to our deepest longings. Couple favorite quotes: “There is delight in the sojourn when we know where home is.” “Joy is arriving at the home you’ve never been to.” “Augustine’s refugee spirituality is an account of what the Christian life feels like. The disciple as much as anyone finds herself in between, on the way, fatigued yet hopeful...conversion is not an arrival at our final destination; it’s an acquisition of a compass.” Additionally, James K.A. Smith’s chapters on Mothers, Fathers, and Death were particularly moving for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    Beyond the biblical writers, Augustine has arguably shaped Christian theology more than anyone else. His life also serves as an enduring template for Christian conversion and sanctification. In "On the Road with Saint Augustine," James K.A. Smith looks to Augustine to help modern readers work through key themes or values of the human drama, such as freedom, sex, ambition, friendship, and death. Augustine wrestled with these concepts in his own life - from his parents' urging him to ascend to the Beyond the biblical writers, Augustine has arguably shaped Christian theology more than anyone else. His life also serves as an enduring template for Christian conversion and sanctification. In "On the Road with Saint Augustine," James K.A. Smith looks to Augustine to help modern readers work through key themes or values of the human drama, such as freedom, sex, ambition, friendship, and death. Augustine wrestled with these concepts in his own life - from his parents' urging him to ascend to the heights of the late Roman hierarchy to his struggle with the flesh ("Lord, make me chaste - but not yet"), to his search for intellectual enlightenment that led him from pagan philosophy to the Word of God. Augustine speaks to believers today as he also spoke to the thinkers that Smith uses as interlocutors - Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida (there is a heavy dose of existentialism throughout). As he always does, Smith employs pop culture references to illustrate his points. This not only serves as a good introduction to Augustine - it also serves as a good introduction to James K.A. Smith whose other works (such as his Cultural Liturgies trilogy) might be a bit too heady to dive into. Highly recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jana Light

    Read it in one go on a plane. Apt?! This is a gentle, compassionate walk through how St. Augustine exhorts us to "be" in our journey through life and spirituality. I found it a little trite at times (not Augustine's fault! Probably the genre) and disagreed with some philosophical, theological, and psychological points, but overall I found it motivating, calming, enlightening, and soothing. Impressive considering where I was reading it. (TRAPPED IN A CYLINDER HURTLING 700 MILES PER HOUR OVER A VA Read it in one go on a plane. Apt?! This is a gentle, compassionate walk through how St. Augustine exhorts us to "be" in our journey through life and spirituality. I found it a little trite at times (not Augustine's fault! Probably the genre) and disagreed with some philosophical, theological, and psychological points, but overall I found it motivating, calming, enlightening, and soothing. Impressive considering where I was reading it. (TRAPPED IN A CYLINDER HURTLING 700 MILES PER HOUR OVER A VAST EXPANSE OF WATER WITH NO LANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES OH YEAH AND WITH HUNDREDS OF STRANGERS.) Also! One of the best parts of this book was Smith's ability to weave together so many ideological and artistic movements and people throughout history. He creates a beautiful intellectual world and I just loved how he saw ideas bumping into and influencing other ideas throughout history. I am going to go back and add several works to my to-read list.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Steele

    The postmodern prophet and rock star, Bono Vox laments, “I have run I have crawled I have scaled these city wall, these city walls, only to be with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” U2 isn’t the only one tapped into the inner drive and existential angst of the ages. Augustine had them beat by 1,600 years! “Oh Lord, you have created us for yourself but our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” James K.A. Smith is on a similar quest and is eager to share the f The postmodern prophet and rock star, Bono Vox laments, “I have run I have crawled I have scaled these city wall, these city walls, only to be with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” U2 isn’t the only one tapped into the inner drive and existential angst of the ages. Augustine had them beat by 1,600 years! “Oh Lord, you have created us for yourself but our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” James K.A. Smith is on a similar quest and is eager to share the fruit of his efforts in his most recent book, On the Road With Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts. Smith’s work is an invitation to meet Augustine on the path that will lead to the culmination of his hope, dreams, and desires. Readers are in for a treat, especially the ones who have caricatured Augustine as a stuffy academician who puffs on a pipe, panders to the educated elite, and pontificates with an accent. Smith notes, “The Christian gospel, for Augustine, wasn’t just the answer to an intellectual question (though it was that); it was more like a shelter in a storm, a port for a wayward soul, nourishment for a prodigal who was famished, whose own heart had become, he said, ‘a famished land.’” The most endearing feature of Smith’s work is the emphasis on what he refers to as a “refugee spirituality.” Such an approach is desperately needed in our day, especially when most people seem content in the here and now and are satisfied with temporal trinkets: “Imagine a refugee spirituality,” writes Smith, “an understanding of human longing and estrangement that not only honors those experiences of not-at-homeness but also affirms the hope of finding a home, finding oneself ... it’s about knowing how to make the journey, how to adopt the posture of the refugee who travels light.” Tragically, many American Christians are so burdened with temporal trinkets, they cannot even envision such a pursuit. Smith traces the Augustinian path and focuses on several fascinating subjects that every pilgrim must wrestle with: freedom, ambition, sex, and death to name a few. On the Road With Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts is a treasure map of sorts. Readers will see a totally new side of the Bishop of Hippo. Thoughtful readers will be prodded and poked. But they will also be encouraged and edified. They will be forced into a corner and challenged to weigh these heavenly realities and ultimately find their rest in God and the gospel of His Son. Highly recommended!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    This is my third read of this book, finishing it today on September 17, 2020. This time, two other women joined me for this summer on a weekly bases to discuss one chapter each week. It was so rich with the insights of a retired English professor and a librarian. My only regret is that we reached the end the book. "On The Road With Saint Augustine - A Read-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts" kept me interested, ruminating some of the depths of Augustine, while reading parts of Augustine's "Co This is my third read of this book, finishing it today on September 17, 2020. This time, two other women joined me for this summer on a weekly bases to discuss one chapter each week. It was so rich with the insights of a retired English professor and a librarian. My only regret is that we reached the end the book. "On The Road With Saint Augustine - A Read-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts" kept me interested, ruminating some of the depths of Augustine, while reading parts of Augustine's "Confessions" (new translation by Henry Chadwick, Oxford World's Classics) as the author provided notes to the chapter, section and paragraphs. To read these together was quite the delight. James K A Smith also provided beautiful colored paintings of Augustine. "Undergirding this book is a three-week journey in the footsteps of Augustine in Italy in March 2017. The trip was a series of epiphanies for me..." Smith received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1999 from Villanova University, which is a Catholic university founded by the Augustinian order. He is also a Protestant and is currently a professor at Calvin University. From March 21, 2020 This would rank as one of my favorite all time books. Maybe it is because I am drawn to St Augustine's theology and Smith does a fantastic job of relating this to "The Confessions". James K. A. Smith brought many thing together for me in understanding relationships but not just that but by including a bit of the teachings of Charles Taylor which lead me back to reread a section of another of Smith's book "How (Not) To Be Secular" about the Nova Effect: Fragilization from Cross-Pressures which I found extremely helpful. Toward the end of "On the Road...", I was brought to tears when Smith vulnerably shared some of his past with his readers. It was quite the book! So I reread it again just after I read it for the first time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Clay McBroom

    This book was a timely read for me. I am more confident to begin reading Augustine's works because of the way that Smith helps the reader understand who he was. He makes Augustine feel scarily relatable. One of the most impactful portions of the book for me was how Smith illustrates the prodigal son story in light of Augustine’s. I was not expecting to personally benefit from this book as much as I did. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see how the gospel is the answer, and it alway This book was a timely read for me. I am more confident to begin reading Augustine's works because of the way that Smith helps the reader understand who he was. He makes Augustine feel scarily relatable. One of the most impactful portions of the book for me was how Smith illustrates the prodigal son story in light of Augustine’s. I was not expecting to personally benefit from this book as much as I did. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see how the gospel is the answer, and it always has been. Some of my favorite quotes are: “Do we tell ourselves we’re ‘just going’ in order to guard against the disappointment of never arriving? Do we call the road ‘home to avoid the pain of never being welcomed?” “We find rest because we are found; we make it home because someone comes to get us.” “The wayward son is not defined by his prodigality but by the welcome of a father who never stopped looking, who is ever scanning the distance, and who runs to gather him up in embrace.” “Friendship is staying close enough to put a hand on their shoulder while giving them enough room to feel the weight.” “Am I learning in order to grow, learning in order to know who and how to love? Or am I learning in order to wield power, get noticed, be seen as smart, be ‘in the know’?” “When you’ve realized that you don’t even know yourself, that you’re an enigma to yourself, and when you keep looking inward only to find an unplumbable depth of mystery and secrets and parts of yourself that are loathsome, then Scripture isn’t received as a list of commands: instead, it breaks into your life as a light from outside that shows you the infinite God who loves you at the bottom of the abyss.” “God doesn’t give us an answer, he gives us himself.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex Etheridge

    Is it possible for philosophical prose to relax you?  After reading this, I'm shocked that such a thing might just be possible. Reading this book was like sitting in a calm meadow, overlooking a vast and picturesque landscape, being shepherded in truths for the soul. (I'd have said a beach, but beaches stress me out.  They are the opposite of relaxing.  Seriously? How does anyone relax with so much sand and salt flying around?) James K.A. Smith uses the life and theology of Augustine, specificall Is it possible for philosophical prose to relax you?  After reading this, I'm shocked that such a thing might just be possible. Reading this book was like sitting in a calm meadow, overlooking a vast and picturesque landscape, being shepherded in truths for the soul. (I'd have said a beach, but beaches stress me out.  They are the opposite of relaxing.  Seriously? How does anyone relax with so much sand and salt flying around?) James K.A. Smith uses the life and theology of Augustine, specifically in his Confessions, to guide us through the defining aspects and figures of life--from mothers and fathers and friendship, to ambition, freedom and finally, death and homecoming.  The chapters on freedom, ambition, friendship and death were especially strong. Honestly, this was a special read.  Augustine talked so much of the true home to come that I could feel my anxiety lifting as I thought of the order, security, and restfulness with God to come.  When my heart feels restless with anxiety over the disorder of life--pretty much a daily, if not hourly occurrence--I hope to better reflect on the home to come after this read.  I'm but a refugee in a foreign land, looking for a home, looking to exhale from the pain and struggle of stressful wandering.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Wood

    Wonderful - so grateful for James K. A. Smith's contextualization of this spiritual father (Saint Augustine) for my generation. I really enjoyed his integration of so many threads: Augustine's biography, age-old philosophical queries, rich and vibrant theology, and relevant cultural references (such as Wes Anderson, Kelly Clarkson and Ta Nehisi-Coates, to name a few). He clearly understands the angst of my generation - mainly because it's not unique to my generation at all. Though this book was m Wonderful - so grateful for James K. A. Smith's contextualization of this spiritual father (Saint Augustine) for my generation. I really enjoyed his integration of so many threads: Augustine's biography, age-old philosophical queries, rich and vibrant theology, and relevant cultural references (such as Wes Anderson, Kelly Clarkson and Ta Nehisi-Coates, to name a few). He clearly understands the angst of my generation - mainly because it's not unique to my generation at all. Though this book was more toward the "intellectual" end of the spectrum of my post-grad reading endeavors, I also found it deeply encouraging and moving - I sniffled my way through many of these chapters, especially "Mothers" and "Fathers;" also found a new sense of peace with my own mortality in "Death." Highly recommend!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carl Jenkins

    James K.A. Smith's new book on Augustine is not just helpful, it isn't just needful, it is beautiful, and it is healing. In typical Smithian fashion, we are introduced to some sort of modern and well known story and piece of pop culture and find Kerouac's 'On the Road' to be our starting point. Smith reminds us of the common hunger we all seem to have for The Road, for the journey of life, but how in that we have seemingly forgotten about a destination and find ourselves more focused on the jour James K.A. Smith's new book on Augustine is not just helpful, it isn't just needful, it is beautiful, and it is healing. In typical Smithian fashion, we are introduced to some sort of modern and well known story and piece of pop culture and find Kerouac's 'On the Road' to be our starting point. Smith reminds us of the common hunger we all seem to have for The Road, for the journey of life, but how in that we have seemingly forgotten about a destination and find ourselves more focused on the journey itself and the stops and sights on the way. There is no idea of home, just the path we travel until we drop somewhere along it. Its here that we're taken back in time to find an African saint, Augustine, who found himself in the same position on The Road that we often find ourselves today. Restless. Homesick. Frustrated. Uneasy. A life that is filled with consumption of all sorts of new and marvelous things that don't seem to quench any sort of thirst. What in the world do we have in common with the life of a North African 1600 years in the past? Apparently a lot. Smith masterfully takes the writings of Augustine and weaves them together to form an introduction to life, touching on our own feelings as a refugee searching for a home in this world, our desire for freedom, the pulse of ambition in our hearts, the desire for sex and intimacy, our relationships with our mothers and our fathers, a need for friendship, a search for enlightenment, a thirst for justice, how we learn to live through learning how to die, and a desperate need to find ourselves in the overall story of this existence. But this is not a biography. It isn't even history. Smith does not write this to make Augustine a saint, nor a hero. I'm not even really convinced that his goal is to make Augustine a pastor. More than anything Smith makes Augustine into your friend. In reading this book Augustine has become someone who isn't trying to school me on theology as much as he is someone who wants to share how God has shaped his life. Augustine isn't someone that wants to solve all of my problems (he admittedly has enough of his own to deal with), but someone laughs and jumps with me in times of blessings, and who sits beside me in times of grief and simply says "It's okay man, I've been struggling with that myself" with his arm on my shoulder. I can't think of any low points in this book, though there were certainly some high points that hit me where I needed to be poked. Smith's chapters on ambition and sex both pushed me hard to ask the questions "Why do I do what I do? Why do I want what I want? Where does my contentment really originate from?" In his chapter on justice I was challenged to face evil in a better way, not looking for answers, but being comforted in God's overcoming and absorbing evil. Worst of all, Smith left me silently sobbing in a coffee shop as I read through the chapter on fathers. As a father myself with plenty of my own daddy issues, Smith gracefully brought me before Augustine who reopened the wounds, but did so to provide better treatment and healing than I had before. Without a doubt this book is a necessary one as we all could benefit from friendship with a 1600 year old North African. This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dan Glover

    One of the reviewers of this book here mentioned Bono's lyric, "I still haven't found what I'm lookin' for", and that is certainly consistent with the restless heart-longing that Jamie Smith taps into and interprets in the works of existentialist postmodern philosophers and artists, and well before them, St. Augustine. I couldn't help thinking of another U2 lyric: "She's running to stand still." For me, that line pretty much sums up not only our cultural moment but the human condition. We are bu One of the reviewers of this book here mentioned Bono's lyric, "I still haven't found what I'm lookin' for", and that is certainly consistent with the restless heart-longing that Jamie Smith taps into and interprets in the works of existentialist postmodern philosophers and artists, and well before them, St. Augustine. I couldn't help thinking of another U2 lyric: "She's running to stand still." For me, that line pretty much sums up not only our cultural moment but the human condition. We are busy, running off in all directions. All that business, all that pursuit, all that frenetic activity is in pursuit of rest, of stillness. We run away from home to find something that feels more like what we suspect home ought to feel like. I enjoy Smith's writing and I had the pleasure (along with my wife and some friends) of attending a lecture where Smith gave a nut-shell talk about this book. As someone who loves Augustine, and who finds Camus honest about humanity in our time in ways many Christian writers are not, I really loved this book. I highly recommend it for Christians who want to understand not only the cultural waters we are swimming in, but also who want to become aware of how much we share with that culture. And I recommend it for those who are honestly seeking truth or home or rest or something to fulfill the deep longings that are difficult to put into words. Such a good book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nolan Hostetler

    A profound work that in displays the tensions common to us as complex human beings in an imperfect world. I found that James KA Smith, drawing upon the works of Augustine, has put into words of what lays underneath the deep desires of the heart. The work is extraordinarily helpful and relevant in describing so many of the experiences I have had with faith, doubt, and the Christian life as whole. So many of the works of Augustine, especially his Confessions, reveal the joys and struggles that come A profound work that in displays the tensions common to us as complex human beings in an imperfect world. I found that James KA Smith, drawing upon the works of Augustine, has put into words of what lays underneath the deep desires of the heart. The work is extraordinarily helpful and relevant in describing so many of the experiences I have had with faith, doubt, and the Christian life as whole. So many of the works of Augustine, especially his Confessions, reveal the joys and struggles that comes with a life of faith. The freedom of seeing ourselves accurately and ultimately coming to the end of ourselves to find rest in Christ. The bulk of the of the book lies in chapters called “Detours on the way to Myself” The chapters on ambition, intimacy, rationality and friendship were most helpful for me. On the Road with Saint Augustine will be a book I certainly return to in the future.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    This is my favorite book of 2020 so far. James K.A. Smith deftly unpacks Augustine’s hard-won wisdom, making “Confessions” come alive for modern readers. It’s amazing how relevant his ideas remain even in our post-modern culture, as people still struggle to find ultimate meaning in life but cannot shake that nagging feeling of unsettledness. This book is fantastic and every chapter is a gem. If I haven’t already sent you a copy, go get one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Goetz

    Winsome and inviting, often illuminating, sometimes deeply moving. I'll add more later. Winsome and inviting, often illuminating, sometimes deeply moving. I'll add more later.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt Pitts

    4.5 stars First of all, this is a beautiful book. Not only the cover but the TOC are delightfully designed. Whoever did the design work deserves an award. Second, I believe in this project. I love Augustine and agree he has much to say to us today, indeed much more than anyone only vaguely aware of him would guess. And James K A Smith is as well positioned as anyone I'm aware of to bring the two together. It reminded me of Rod Dreher's How Dante Saved My Life (which I also thoroughly enjoyed). Thir 4.5 stars First of all, this is a beautiful book. Not only the cover but the TOC are delightfully designed. Whoever did the design work deserves an award. Second, I believe in this project. I love Augustine and agree he has much to say to us today, indeed much more than anyone only vaguely aware of him would guess. And James K A Smith is as well positioned as anyone I'm aware of to bring the two together. It reminded me of Rod Dreher's How Dante Saved My Life (which I also thoroughly enjoyed). Third, for me there were some elements that didn't quite work. I got bogged down around chapter 3 or 4, but after these there were several superb chapters. Almost all of the book from that point forward was fantastic. The section on justice was not bad but I couldn't help thinking it wouldn't have been there ten years ago. I'm not saying it wasn't sincerely done or that it shouldn't have been there, but if that's what I'm thinking about while I'm reading it something is not working. Fourth, there is some highly mature material throughout that, while not inappropriate would likely not be appropriate for high school students. Finally, I hope many read Smith's book and through him turn to Augustine himself. Tolle lege.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kenan Baldwin

    Underlining everywhere! Smith can really, really write. And these are rich reflections on what insights Augustine has for us today in the realm of spirituality and existential apologetics. This isn't a perfect book by any means, but I *highly* recommend it to you. Full review to follow later. Underlining everywhere! Smith can really, really write. And these are rich reflections on what insights Augustine has for us today in the realm of spirituality and existential apologetics. This isn't a perfect book by any means, but I *highly* recommend it to you. Full review to follow later.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Any book that starts with Kerouac and ends with a Spotify playlist of music that inspired the book is bound to contain something worth reading in the middle. If you've never read Augustine, James K.A. Smith's book-length introduction to this 4th century African bishop is a compelling argument for why you should. Western Christian theology, philosophy, and modern secular thought are all shaped by this incredible thinker; his ideas permeate our 21st century lives more than we realize. Writing for t Any book that starts with Kerouac and ends with a Spotify playlist of music that inspired the book is bound to contain something worth reading in the middle. If you've never read Augustine, James K.A. Smith's book-length introduction to this 4th century African bishop is a compelling argument for why you should. Western Christian theology, philosophy, and modern secular thought are all shaped by this incredible thinker; his ideas permeate our 21st century lives more than we realize. Writing for the restless hearts, Smith takes readers on a journey that demonstrates why Augustine's thought and writing are still relevant to the desires of the modern heart and the world we live in.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Kassing

    I enjoy Smith's prose. He is an excellent writer and this book doesn't disappoint. By far my favorite chapters in this volume were on 'Ambition', 'Fatherhood', and 'Death'. With that being said this book is wonderful in certain places and then average in others. I didn't always know where Smith was taking us. I enjoyed the insights into Augustine's life but I wish Smith would have come down in some more concrete ways through out the book. I enjoy Smith's prose. He is an excellent writer and this book doesn't disappoint. By far my favorite chapters in this volume were on 'Ambition', 'Fatherhood', and 'Death'. With that being said this book is wonderful in certain places and then average in others. I didn't always know where Smith was taking us. I enjoyed the insights into Augustine's life but I wish Smith would have come down in some more concrete ways through out the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    It’s hard to imagine a better guide to the journey of life than the man whose greatest works point to the realities that we were created for something far greater than ourselves and that the world we live in is at its best when it points to the eternal world we await. The first part lays a bit of a philosophical foundation for the second half. I’m not well-versed in the likes of Sartre or Heidegger but Smith isn’t trying to turn this into an academic exercise and his review of these thinkers is c It’s hard to imagine a better guide to the journey of life than the man whose greatest works point to the realities that we were created for something far greater than ourselves and that the world we live in is at its best when it points to the eternal world we await. The first part lays a bit of a philosophical foundation for the second half. I’m not well-versed in the likes of Sartre or Heidegger but Smith isn’t trying to turn this into an academic exercise and his review of these thinkers is charitable toward us laymen. It’s very much worth working through to see how others have been shaped by Augustine. And as stated above, it sets an excellent foundation for us to think about every facet of life and also death with Augustine as our guide.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I read this one slowly and really savored it and I am so glad that I did. Smith makes St. Augustine and his writings so relatable and relevant. I feel a weird kinship with Augustine after reading this and I am looking forward to studying his life further. The philosophy jargon was a bit over my head, but I enjoyed seeing the influence of Augustine's writings on modern thought. The chapters on freedom, ambition, and friendship especially struck me. I read this one slowly and really savored it and I am so glad that I did. Smith makes St. Augustine and his writings so relatable and relevant. I feel a weird kinship with Augustine after reading this and I am looking forward to studying his life further. The philosophy jargon was a bit over my head, but I enjoyed seeing the influence of Augustine's writings on modern thought. The chapters on freedom, ambition, and friendship especially struck me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peter Dray

    My favourite so far of everything I've read by James K A Smith. Beautifully written, a great introduction to Augustine and a wonderful demonstration of how life with God can satisfy the deepest of human desires. My favourite so far of everything I've read by James K A Smith. Beautifully written, a great introduction to Augustine and a wonderful demonstration of how life with God can satisfy the deepest of human desires.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melanie McWhorter

    A great mix of philosophy/faith. On The Road with St Augustine was deep, honest, and thought-provoking. It definitely started out pretty slow... after the first couple chapters, it felt like a behind the scenes journey into not only Augustines life, but also the hard-learned lessons that birthed so much wisdom and rest. I also liked how the author connected you to both Augustine and culture today in a story-like and personal way. The connections he made were a work of art in themselves. Challeng A great mix of philosophy/faith. On The Road with St Augustine was deep, honest, and thought-provoking. It definitely started out pretty slow... after the first couple chapters, it felt like a behind the scenes journey into not only Augustines life, but also the hard-learned lessons that birthed so much wisdom and rest. I also liked how the author connected you to both Augustine and culture today in a story-like and personal way. The connections he made were a work of art in themselves. Challenging read but well worth it. “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Somers

    This is the first time I’ve read any of James K A Smith’s writings. This was an outstanding read. Definitely the read of my year. So refreshing, honest and clear. If you’re journeying in hopes of connecting your everyday life to the larger reasons for living, you will be drawn in by both James and Augustine. If you are already further along on the journey of faith James uses Augustine as a tuning fork. Sounding out the clear note of faith beyond simply faith in self. Definitely a book to reread This is the first time I’ve read any of James K A Smith’s writings. This was an outstanding read. Definitely the read of my year. So refreshing, honest and clear. If you’re journeying in hopes of connecting your everyday life to the larger reasons for living, you will be drawn in by both James and Augustine. If you are already further along on the journey of faith James uses Augustine as a tuning fork. Sounding out the clear note of faith beyond simply faith in self. Definitely a book to reread regularly.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hands

    IMportant I enjoyed this book, some stages it meanders much the same way I suspect journeying on a pilgrimage would as well - but it is food for the soul and formative for the heart. Smith yet again provides deep food for thought and fuel for discipleship in the way of Christ.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lee Wright

    So great! I recommend to any person in our modern world who is angsty and struggles to know their ultimate purpose. Smith draws in some great illustrations in movies, TV and literature. It’s a must-read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Willis

    So many good nuggets. Plan on rereading soon.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jordan J. Andlovec

    I have been waiting years for a book to come along that I could give to my friends who share, like many of us, Augustine's journey. The Confessions are beautiful and striking, but they aren't what I would call "popular level" reading, and I'm thankful that Jamie Smith did the work of taking us on this journey. I have been waiting years for a book to come along that I could give to my friends who share, like many of us, Augustine's journey. The Confessions are beautiful and striking, but they aren't what I would call "popular level" reading, and I'm thankful that Jamie Smith did the work of taking us on this journey.

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