When the Patheos Book Club told me they were going to be featuring the paperback release of Mary Eberstadt’s How the West Really Lost God, I wondered what else I could possibly say to recommend the book? I had brought it up — not once, but twice — at First Things, and referenced it here on the blog a number of times — always with the recommendation that people read it for themselves because How the West Really Lost God gives us a fresh, and very wise, perspective on how we as a society (and we as a Church) have arrived at the highly secularized, sentimental, sin-senseless, misbegotten reality of now. Understanding that is key to reversing trends that are leading us further and further away from truths we cannot afford to lose.
But then I realized, “oh yeah, on July 2 we here at the Patheos Channel will be hosting a week-long symposium on family issues in anticipation of October’s Extraordinary Bishop’s Synod on the Family!” I am firmly of the belief that Eberstadt’s book is a must-read in preparation for that potentially-momentous event.
In fact, when I was outlining topics for the symposium, I had this quote from Eberstadt in mind:
The Christian story itself is a story told through the prism of the family. Take away the prism, and the story makes less sense. We men and women, whether inside the churches or not, are only at the beginning of understanding how the fracturing of the natural family has in turn helped to fracture Christianity.
BOOM, right? The Extraordinary Synod’s biggest challenge will be to plunge into complicated modern family issues while firmly tethered to the understanding that if we undermine what is eternally true about the family, we put souls at risk, we put access to God — and comprehension of all that has come before us — out of reach.
If that’s not reason enough to pick up How the West Really Lost God and give it a thorough read over the summer, then I don’t know what is!