What is love?

As Bishop Michael Curry explains, love is not a feeling. It is a specific commitment to living for “we” rather than for “me.” And his new book, Love Is the Way, shows us how we can do it.

From the title, it would be easy to write off Bishop Michael Curry’s new book as vague, feel-good musings on love. Of course love is the way — love is the way of Valentine’s Day, and pop radio, and the soft-focus Jesus of Hallmark Easter cards. But that’s not the love that Bishop Curry is talking about. While this memoir-based book has plenty of musings, they are neither vague nor soft-focused.

Written before the pandemic and before the racial and political strife of 2020 came to a head, Love Is the Way provides a series of anecdotes from Bishop Curry’s life that speak so directly to these painful social challenges that it seems prophetic.  When one of his daughters asked him what he was writing about, he said he was sharing some of what he’d learned from “faith, family, community, and ancestors.” The life lessons he shares here get to the heart of his life, “those people and experiences that led to [his] conviction that the way of love can change each of us, and all of us, for the better.” And what better time to change us all for the better than now?

He presents these lessons as stories, beginning with losing his brilliant and loving mother to a devastating stroke, and the many ways his father, his extended family, and their community stepped up to not just show love but to be love. He tells about various churches where he served, and individuals who acted as the hands of Christ and others who were changed by the touch of those hands. He explains experiences in his own life that led him to understand his calling as a priest and that eventually put him on the path to become elected presiding bishop. He laces these stories with threads from the rich fabric of his life—the soul food, spirituals, jazz, theologians, poets, historic figures, and scripture that have influenced and inspired him. 

Each story could stand alone as an interesting anecdote, but he deftly uses them to either define or illustrate his basic premise about what love is. As Bishop Curry explains, love is not a feeling. It is a specific commitment to living in an unselfish way. In the Way of Love teachings that he has shared with the Episcopal Church, he has taught that love is a step-by-step process that replicates the desire of Jesus’s earliest followers to live in a new way, for “we” rather than for “me.” Love is a verb, and it is challenging to do it. Here, he fleshes out what it has looked like in his life.

To those who say that love is not strong enough to form a way of life, Bishop Curry says that the current focus on selfishness is not working. His experiences show that love can be a strong guiding principle, and that those who practice it can be strong, too. He ends with guidelines on how to put love into action—a daily planner, or a rule of life. 

Love Is the Way is engaging and moving, inspiring and prescriptive. In sharing the stories of his heart, Bishop Curry provides clear and specific ways to hold on to hope in these troubling times. Thanks be to God.

Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times
Bishop Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
with Sara Grace
Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House
978-0-525-54303-9
$27.00

To purchase Love Is the Way from the Cathedral Bookstore, click here.

To join Bishop Curry and Bishop Doyle in conversation on Zoom on November 11, purchase a book from Brazos Bookstore here.

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
~Maya Angelou

Life Is Rich

A new collection of Kristi Martin’s writings honors her beloved memory and shares her warm, empathetic understanding of life.

If you had the good fortune to know Kristi Cassin Martin, you remember her warmth and intelligence and the joyful way she embraced life. And if you didn’t have the pleasure, now you can know her though her collected writings.

When Kristi departed this earth in 2018, her husband Earle determined he would publish a collection to honor her memory. Life Is Rich: and other stories provides a beautiful window on Kristi’s life.  It includes memories of her childhood in an artist’s home in Houston outside the Loop before there was a Loop, stories of generations of her family in their beloved summer community on the Great Lakes, meditations on her dear dog Nimrod, personal and profound experiences that she had at Christ Church Cathedral, and a variety of other vignettes — all recounted in a clear, engaging voice that is unmistakably and delightfully Kristi’s.

Pittman McGehee, a close friend of Kristi’s and former dean of the Cathedral, says in the epigraph, “Kristi Martin was woman who put nature’s color in art and word.” Her writing teacher Christopher Woods notes the sense of tenderness and empathy she captures in these pieces. But perhaps Earle describes the impact of the collection best: he “hopes you will come away with a happy sense of Kristi’s deeply loving person…a genuinely lovely human being…and perhaps through her writings get a fresh glimpse of your own life and the world around you.”

Published with thought and care, Life Is Rich reflects Kristi on every levels: the cover art and the illustrations that grace each piece are by her friend Roxanna Weiland. The colors that Kristi surrounded herself with, having lived her entire life inspired by her mother’s vibrant art, enliven the pages. And Earle has generously donated the books to the Bookstore, so that 100% of every book sold is a gift to the Cathedral that Kristi loved so much.

To make a donation to the Cathedral and receive a copy of Life Is Rich, click here.

What is the beginning? Love.
What the course. Love still.
What the goal. The goal is Love.
On a happy hill
Is there nothing then but Love?
Search we sky or earth
There is nothing out of Love
Hath perpetual worth;
All things flag but only Love,
All things fail and flee;
There is nothing left but Love
Worthy you and me.

—Christina Rossetti