Confessions (World's Classics) - Augustine of Hippo, Henry Chadwick Took me a long time to read this one; I think I've been too heavy on the classics-side of my reading list, and I'm getting burned on classics.

Hmm... first of all, "of Hippo"... how awesome! I want that as a last name.

Okay, on the whole, an interesting conversion story to read. Augustine is a thinker, he was classically educated with lots of Plato and Aristotle, so ol' Auggy thinks big picture, philosophical-like. That's quite unlike how I think. For some reason, I don't spend much of my mental energy on the notion of ultimate good or ultimate evil when there's plenty of local good and evil to be observed.

Auggy gets starts off on a really rough foot, though. He frames the Confessions as the story of his life, and the first chapter involves what a sinful kid he was. I mean, when he was a baby, he CRIED. How shameful. When he was a kid, he liked to play GAMES. What a sinner! The plot thickens from there--when he was sixteen, he STOLE SOME PEARS FROM A PEAR TREE. You can tell he still feels guilty about it. Man, if that's the worst thing he did when he was 16, he got through his teenage years pretty easy.

Luckily, the tone of the book gets better after the first two chapters, and we don't hear him whine so much (at least until the end). From there, it's his adventures as a traveling student and teacher of rhetoric, his long stay with the Manichean faith (look it up), and his very slow and eventual conversion to christianity.

At the end, it gets weird. The last thing holding him back from being a christian is that he somehow gets the weird idea that to be christian (catholic, I guess) you need to be celibate.... if that was EVER the case, the catholic church would've died out in a generation. So he goes through this (understandable) personal anguish about never being able to do the nasty again, and then has an epiphany... end scene.

To be fair, my version is abridged to books I-VIII and doesn't include the last two books where he is baptized, and wraps up the story, but it's all over but the shouting by the end of book VIII.

I feel like I'm being unnecessarily harsh on ol' Augustine, but I'm sick, and wish I was reading something more interesting. The book is not without its merits, and I really liked the following passage:

[Augustine, at the brink of an epiphany, asking his best friend]
"What is wrong with us? ... The unlearned arise and take heaven by force, and here are we with all our learning, stuck fast in flesh and blood! Is there any shame in following because they have gone before us, would it not be worse a shame not to follow at once?"

I feel like that sometimes-- like it's easier to be faithful if you aren't learned/smart/intelligent, but part of the journey to faith is humbling yourself to realize it doesn't matter in God's eyes, we are all his children.

OK, now on to some adventures...