In the introduction to his book, James Schall recalls laughing at how the title of his book would make people have to carry it out of the store in a paper bag so no one could see the title… Thus was born the title of The Praise of Sons of Bitches: On the Worship of God by Fallen Men. This of course was pre-Amazon, so now we just have the controversial title without the teenage-style giggling from the bookseller.
And to answer the most important question right off the bat: yes, I thoroughly enjoyed packing this book around while I was reading it.
This book is a series of essays on various topics, but all loosely related to the subtitle of how to worship God as fallen human beings. This is, however, a broad sort of “worship”–which is probably a good thing, give that Schall was a Roman Catholic. He largely avoids the points of conflict we Protestants are going to have with our Roman Catholic friends, and like Lewis and Chesterton (both of whom he regularly quotes) as a result Schall has given us a book that’s more about living well in the culture generally than it is about living well as Christians specifically.
Which doesn’t mean it’s not a useful book! Much of what Schall has written is excellent and should be on your shelf, since it includes gems like this:
“… it is not so important for religion to be relevant. This may be its greatest contemporary mistake. I believe rather that it needs to be right and holy.” (22)
“The love of enemies, then, consists in ever treating them as persons, not as causes or groups, exploiters or whatever. But it does not mean we should turn a madman loose on society…” (118)
We all need to spend time reflecting on what living worshipfully in the world means, and this book gives us a useful place to begin that reflection.
All this to say, buy this book for the title and read it for the content. You won’t be disappointed on either count.