Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review (sort of): Rome Sweet Home

So a bunch of friends wanted to start a book club, and the book that was chosen to launch the thing was Scott and Kimberly Hahn's Rome Sweet Home. It meets tomorrow, but since there will be close to a dozen of us there, they probably don't want to hear all my thoughts on it... Fortunately, that's why God made the internet (right??).

Book cover as it appears on Amazon...
I have three discrete reactions to the book, aside from feeling generally favorable toward it and them, and agreeing that it was a quick and pleasant read.

Growing to appreciate the Hahns as people

See, having gone to Steubenville, I noticed that most people fell into one of two categories regarding Dr Hahn (with rare exceptions): Either you were familiar with his work before college and loved him, or you regarded him as overrated and were annoyed when every third person who learned where you went to school asked with awe, "Did you ever have class with Scott Hahn!?"

(Unspoken response: No, because for every one Scripture class Dr Hahn teacheswhich is always a night classDr Bergsma teaches 7, which are at least as good. Besides, Hahn just assigns you to read his books as your homework, and it's harder to get a good grade in his class, yet it doesn't seem like his students learn anything more than or different from Bergsma's students...)

Anyway, this book humanized the Hahns and gave me something in common with them, something I never realized was sorely needed. Now, drawn in by seeing the way theology has driven their lives, I am actually inclined to take advantage of Dr Hahn's apparent theological genius and check out some of his other books (this new one looks pretty awesome)...

A surprising observation that probably shouldn't be a surprise

As the book progressed, I found myself identifying much more with Scott than with Kimberly. I account two factors for this:

1) I have not yet experienced anything that made me deeply fear seeking the truth (I've put it off for a month or three, maybe, but even then, not since high school). Kimberly's stubbornness of heart was rooted in a particular fear connected to a part of her life that she refused to give to God for a long time. This is not something that my experience connects me with. (Deo gratias!)

2) Kimberly's day-to-day life was drastically changed by having children to care for. As I am still single, I have nothing more practical, more important (except perhaps working enough to pay my bills, which is hardly the same) to distract my mind from the work of theology.

Not that I think most people reading a conversion story are concerned about spoilers, but hey! they happen.

A new conviction

I'm not usually the person who comes away from a talk, homily, book, discussion, etc., saying, "That really hit home; I need to do more (or less) of X." Yet this book convicted me: I need to read more theology.

There's an excitement, a romance to studying the things of God! Reading about Scott's journey really made that present again. It was easy to forget that when the reading was assigned, and sadly, extracurricular research is easy to neglect, despite its joy.

With caution not to overload my resolutions for the Year of Faith, I do intend to read more theology. At least weekly is feasible, right?

Cover of the book I actually own, which saved
me $4 and gave me this great 80s photo to boot!
Anyway, the book was fun, and an easy read. Having gone to college with two of their three oldest kids (still very young children by the end of the book), it was kind of fun to take this look back in time. I do recommend it. Two thumbs up!

Let us pray also for all our brothers and sisters who believe in Christ,
that our God and Lord may be pleased,
as they live the truth,
to gather them together and keep them in his one Church.
Let us pray.
Almighty ever-living God,
who gather what is scattered
and keep together what you have gathered,
look kindly on the flock of your Son,
that those whom one Baptism has consecrated
may be joined together by integrity of faith
and united in the bond of charity.
Through Christ our Lord.
Good Friday Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord
Solemn Intercessions, V.: For the Unity of Christians

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