In From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism the bestselling coauthor of Jesus for President, Chris Haw, chronicles his spiritual journey through evangelical Christianity and his return to Catholicism. Haw provides a respectful and engaging look at the megachurch movement and a heartfelt expression of love for the Catholic Church’s liturgy and its commitment to the poor.
In the spirit of Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain and Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness, Chris Haw’s From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart recounts the journey of a young Christian seeking a personal relationship with Christ within the context of a faith community committed to love, justice, and solidarity with the poor. Haw’s journey spans contemporary American Christianity—from a nominal Catholic background to megachurch Evangelicalism, to a new monastic community, and then back to Catholicism after an intense spiritual experience on Good Friday.
Haw’s story and style will appeal to Catholics who champion the Church’s social teachings, those drawn to monastic practices and living in intentional community, and those seeking solidarity with the poor and marginalised.
Interview with Chris Haw -- On Conversion and the New Monasticism
Table of Contents:
Foreword by Shane Claiborne
Part One: Action (with Some Contemplation)
One: From Mass to Megachurch
Two: From Class to Streets
Three: From Streets to Jungle
Four: From Jungle to War
Five: From War to Concrete Jungle
Part Two: Contemplation (with Some Action)
Six: Murder and the Mass
Seven: Pagan Christianity
Eight: The Search for No Accent: Or, the Impossibility of Nondenominationalism
Nine: On Being Part of a Terrible Organization: Or, How to Treat the Church Like a (Dysfunctional) Family
Ten: Art and Apocalypse
Afterword by William T. Cavanaugh, PhD
Sometimes you hear someone share their story and you get the sense that they are pioneers, scouts, groundbreakers . . . blazing a trail that a lot of people will hike on after they are long gone. Chris Haw is one of those trailblazers.
- Shane Claiborne, Author of The Irresistible Revolution
Chris Haws journey from Willow Creek to Sacred Heart (and the Roman Catholic tradition) is an important addendum to the story of 21st century American Christianity—not only because Haws journey is representative, but because he has engaged the questions that come up along the way so well. You dont need to believe that all roads lead to Rome to see that we can all learn something from a faithful pilgrimage in that direction.
- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author of The Wisdom of Stability
This book is in part about why the Catholic communion is good, but it is not about why the Protestant communions are bad. It is blissfully free from polemics, which we don’t need. Haw’s book is a gift to a Church too often divided by conservatives who demand submission and liberals who demand freedom. Chris Haw has, through his witness and his words, opened up a broader vision of a truly Catholic life beautifully lived.
- William Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic Studies and Senior Research Fellow, DePaul University
This book is really excellent, and reveals the maturity that seems to be showing itself in so many of our churches today. It is an ideal example of non-dual thinking, the contemplative mind that can see beyond the shadow and the disguise of things. Before returning to the Catholic Church, Chris Haw did courageously from the outside what so many of us cradle Catholics seldom do—but need to do—from the inside.
- Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Because of Chris Haws beautiful prose, From Willow Creek to Sacred Heartreminded me of Thomas Howards Christ the Tiger. Because of Haws lucid line of thought, it reminded me of G. K. Chestertons Orthodoxy. But the book offers todays readers unique gifts as well, because Chris feels the peculiar challenges of the present moment. He proclaims a catholic faith (big or small C) that is simultaneously rooted in history and engaged with our gritty, conflicted, often superficial, and yet profoundly questioning world.
- Brian McLaren, Author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
Much more than an already fascinating Chestertonian re-discovery of the Catholic Faith, Chris Haws bears witness to the slow, patient, ideology-busting determination of God. This has brought him, via the dying reefs of Belize and the apocalyptic landscape of Camden, New Jersey into one of our faith’s best-kept secrets: a deep, delighting love for our material, corporal, human life—in all its vulnerability.
- James Alison, Author of Broken Hearts and New Creations
In an accessible and intelligent way, Chris Haw presents us with the colorful fabric of his faith journey woven together with rich resources, inviting readers on a theological and spiritual adventure of action and contemplation. This book is perfect for those struggling to understand how they fit into the Church and world today, especially those young adults seeking to make sense of their faith in challenging times.
- Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M, Author of Dating God
Chris Haw’s new book is a gem: honest, insightful, funny. With sparkling prose and considerable theological insight, Chris describes his journey from Willow Creek to Sacred Heart—from American Evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism. In this narrative—part biography and part theology—he asks hard questions and refuses to settle for easy answers. Along the way he incorporates insights from Wendell Berry, G.K. Chesterton, and John Howard Yoder, among others. Chris’s story will be of special interest to Protestants who wonder about all things Catholic and Catholics who wonder about leaving the Church. To all readers this book is a lovely gift.
- Steven Bouma-Prediger, Author of For the Beauty of the Earth
With an appealing candor and a storyteller’s skill, Haw explores here a principal question of contemporary western Christianity: What is the role and proper place of the praxis, traditions, and theology of Inherited Church in shaping the religion of today’s Christians? I must add as well that only rarely, if ever, have I seen a more persuasive or compelling apologia than the one he makes.
- Phyllis Tickle, Author of The Great Emergence
A refreshing dose of respect, objectivity, and love. . . . This autobiographical confession will be of interest to both Catholics and Protestants as both will learn much and be invited to reflect deeply on their own personal profession of faith.
- Publishers Weekly