Over the next few weeks, I’m trying to clear the deck of some books and products which entered the house for review but never seemed to get done. Today, I’m sharing about At the Heart of the Gospel by Christopher West. I was fortunate to review his book, Fill These Hearts: God, Sex and the Universal Longing, last year.
About At the Heart of the Gospel and Christopher West
The sexual revolution brought a terribly distorted vision of the body and sex into the mainstream. How should Christians respond? With his illuminating Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul II challenged the modern world not to stop at the surface, but to enter the depth of the “great mystery” that the body and sex reveal: a mystery that lies at the heart of the Gospel itself.
Since he first discovered John Paul II’s teaching in 1993, Christopher West has devoted himself to sharing its life-transforming message with the world. In this highly anticipated work, West leads us into the depth of Christ’s “nuptial union” with the Church, demonstrating how authentic Catholic teaching on the body and sex saves us from both the libertine perspective of popular culture and the cold puritanism that has sometimes infected Christianity. In the process, West provides a blueprint for reaching our sexually broken world in the “new evangelization.”
Christopher West is a renowned educator, best-selling author, cultural commentator, and popular theologian who specializes in making the dense scholarship of the late John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” accessible to a wide audience. As Founder of the Cor Project, he leads a global outreach devoted to cultural renewal through a dynamic and fresh proclamation of the Gospel. The graduate courses he teaches at the Theology of the Body Institute attract students from around the world. His extensive lecturing, numerous books, articles, video programs, and media appearances – millions have seen him on Fox News, ABC News, MSNBC, EWTN, TBN, and CBN – have sparked an international groundswell of interest in the Theology of the Body across denominational lines.
My Thoughts on At the Heart of the Gospel
First off, if you are a fan of Christopher West and his work with Theology of the Body, then odds are that you’ll love this book. If you haven’t read any of his previous work, then this could be a great introduction to him and his style of presentation.
Something that I love about digging more and more into the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality is learning that within the context God intended (married life) sex can be a beautiful experience. We are meant to be sexual and use that to deepen intimacy with our spouse along with being a conduit for children, should God bless us with them.
I really liked how he showed that both the modern culture’s perspective and the more puritanistic view that has appeared at times are at odds with what the reality is. Sharing this reality of what the Church teaches through the ‘new evangelization’ has the potential to really open up the possibility of leading people to a happier place where sex is not treated casually or like something that is dirty.
While Christopher West has a gift at putting Church teachings into terms many lay people can understand, it is still not a ‘light’ read. Be prepared to have full use of your faculties and maybe even jot notes as you read. I could see this being a wonderful book to use in our MOMS group as it tackles a topic which is close to our hearts as wives and mothers.
Have you read any of Christopher West’s books? Do you have a favorite?
What sources do you use for learning about Church teachings on sexuality?