Anatomy of a Conversion by Paula Huston

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Anatomy of a Conversion

Paula Huston on Becoming a New Kind of Human Being

During Thanksgiving dinner at our house, eaten outside in the sharp, rain-washed, brilliant air you can only find in California on a perfect fall day, I had a conversation with someone I barely knew, a young man of thirty, a husband and father of two, handsome, out of work, very likely despairing but hiding it under a practiced if weary smile (years in the “hospitality industry,” as he put it). The only thing I knew about him prior to our talk was that his three-year-old son and baby daughter had just been baptized into the Roman Catholic Church—this, despite his not being Catholic or even able to say whether he was a believer.

I told him I found that both admirable and puzzling. Why had he agreed to do i . . .