Why are modern Christians so indistinguishable from everyone else? How come Christians who lived in times of bloody persecution were so heroic, while we who live in safety are not? How could the first Christians fast valiantly, but we feel deprived without dessert? How did New Testament believers pray without ceasing? How could the early Christian martyrs actually forgive their torturers? What did the Christians of the first centuries know that we don't? That's what this book is about. From the author: When I look back at the process of writing The Illumined Heart, I'm amazed all over again at how God directed it. I wrote the whole thing in a week, the week before Christmas, in fact, which is so typically congested with last-minute errands, unpredicatable weather, aches and sniffles. For Orthodox Christians, it's also a week that we fast from meat and dairy, adding another ball to the juggling act. Yet somehow I started writing the book on Monday morning and completed it Sunday night, just fourteen minutes after the Christmas Eve service began. (I kept wondering where in the week I'd dawdled and lost that fourteen minutes.) It's no wonder that I look at The Illumined Heart as the one out of all of my books that felt the most God-directed. Mostly, he told me when to shut up. For a cup-runneth-over writer like me, starting a book is like moving into mid-pregnancy and putting on those stretch-front trousers for the first time; they're like a license to eat. And knowing that I have room to write on and on, whatever comes to mind, makes for abundant, wandering prose. Yet The Illumined Heart is quiet, proportional, just-enough; it's like a jewel. It's no wonder that this is a personal favorite among my own books, and the one I must urge people to read. I'm pleased by the amount of good work it's done so far, and hope that it will continue to do much more.
About the Author
Frederica Mathewes-Green is a widely published author of 10 books and hundreds of essays in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service, Beliefnet.com, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. She is in high demand as a speaker. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.
"A clear, compelling witness of Gospel truth...cuts through the niceties, the comfortable feel-good pap, the tempting cliches, to offer a hard, bold challenge: to live the Christian life as Christ meant it to be lived." —Lauren Winner
"The Illumined Heart will be of great help to anyone striving to walk the timeless path of Christ in our time." —Dallas Willard
"Breathtakingly counter-cultural, and worth more to the honest seeker than shelves of what passes for practical spirituality these days." —Rod Dreher