First Things Magazine

December 31, 2021

Hudson, publisher of Crisis magazine, tells a story that beautifully reflects the subtitle, but not the title. As a Southern Baptist, and minister of the same, the author chafed under the divorce of piety from aesthetics and the life of the mind. Bit by bit, with a hesitance interspersed by leaps of grace he does not presume to explain, he came to embrace another way of being Christian. Thomas Aquinas, George Herbert, Jacques Maritain, Louis Bouyer, and other masters were decisive in his being wooed by the Catholicism to which he finally succumbed. Elegantly written and a pleasure to read, this is the tale of an American who was converted and is, as he knows, still on the way of being converted. But one might argue that, in his preoccupation with beauty and truth, Hudson’s experience is in sharp contrast to what, in our confused religious culture of feel-good spiritualities, would be a typical “American” conversion.

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