In Against the Current, John Garvey takes on the ways in which we use religion to keep ourselves from experiencing it at its real depths. Our culture distorts our sense of religion, often by reducing it to a mere preference. A "self-help" mentality can lead us to oversimplify the complexities of the spiritual struggle. Our need to be right -- so often seen as a positive reinforcement in religion -- is usually nothing more than a way of protecting the ego, and can keep us from humility and a kind of creative doubt. Finally, what do we do when the church itself seems to be part of the problem? Against the Current addresses all of these difficult questions in fresh and creative ways.
"These essays offer so much food for thought they need to be savored, not swallowed whole . . . I suggest that you read each essay slowly as though you were sitting down with the author over a cup of coffee. Fr. Garvey is never dogmatic; rather he provides some new perspectives on current ideas . . . For those with little time, the easy access to Fr. Garvey�s thought is precious.� National Catholic Reporter
"For people who want to be "grown up" Christians. If that's what you want, there are few books better . . . to deepen your faith." Roanoke Times
"A real gem. In each of its sixteen chapters Garvey succeeds in shattering illusions and challenging a host of common assumptions that, for many of us, inform our attitudes to faith and religious practice . . . The central tenet of the book is that we have a habit of using (or rather misusing) religion for our own ends rather than allowing ourselves to be confronted and changed. . . Richly endowed with anecdote and drawing on the writings of both the Fathers of the Church and the Fathers of Eastern and Western literature, this book punches far above its weight, eschewing comfortable answers to complex questions." The Furrow
John Garvey is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and a columnist for Commonweal. His most recent books are Death and the Rest of Our Life and Orthodoxy for the Non-Orthodox.
EXCERPT: The greatest danger of our culture, in making a religious commitment something like a consumer choice, is that we will not see that this commitment is finally a matter of life and death, for us and for a much larger community, one to which we have an obligation. Our culture allows us to take nothing seriously except what we perceive to be our needs and desires. Unless these have been informed by a relationship with the living God, they will mislead us.