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

Love is the Way: A Conversation with Bishop Curry

Join readers from across the country to hear two thoughtful, articulate Episcopalian leaders discuss the real possibility of living a life of faith and love in these times.

On October 8, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. Central, The Episcopal Booksellers Association is hosting a conversation with The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry will be discussing his newest book, Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times, which will be published on September 22. The virtual meeting will consist of remarks about the book from Bishop Curry and a question and answer discussion with The Very Reverend Barkley S. Thompson, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral. 

That’s a whole lot of holy wisdom going on in one Zoom meeting, and it promises to be uplifting, thought-provoking, and clarifying about just what the word love really means. And, more importantly, just how we can put it into practice in our lives. In his book Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus, Bishop Curry said “Being a Christian is not essentially about joining a church or being a nice person, but about following in the footsteps of Jesus, taking his teachings seriously, letting his Spirit take the lead in our lives, and in so doing helping to change the world from our nightmare into God’s dream.” 

If there ever was a time when we felt like we needed to make that transformation from nightmare into dream reality, it’s right now. In this new book, the Bishop explains how the way of love is “essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God.” He also shares how we can develop the “deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity” that we need in order to meet these challenges. 

Bishop Curry believes that “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Join the Cathedral Bookstore and readers from other Episcopal bookstores across the country to hear what promises to be a powerful and practical discussion between two wise, articulate Episcopalian leaders about the real possibility of living a life of faith and love in these times. 

To purchase your copy of Bishop Curry’s Love is the Way click here.

To purchase Dean Thompson’s In the Midst of the City: The Gospel and God’s Politics, click here.

To receive a link for the conversation on October 8, email the Cathedral Bookstore at bookstore@christchurchcathedral.org.

 

We are created to follow the Way of love of the Lord Jesus.  When we sacrifice our pride; when we uplift and live into our true nature; when we follow the Way of Jesus, then bonds of grace and community form and strengthen, and our world, that may at first seems like a deserted island cut off from hope, becomes, in the light of love, paradise.
~Barkley S. Thompson