Archives For Daniel Berrigan


Yesterday (May 9) was the birthday of the late Jesuit priest and poet, Daniel Berrigan. Here are 7 of our favorite poems of his…


Like many others during the 1960s, Berrigan’s active protest against the Vietnam War earned him both scorn and admiration. His particular form of militancy and radical spirituality in the service of social and political justice was significant enough, at that time, to “shape the tactics of resistance to the Vietnam War” in the United States. (via Wikipedia)


Daniel Berrigan


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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)


Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship

Gregory Boyle

*** Listen to a powerful story from this book



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Tomorrow (May 9) is the birthday of Jesuit poet Daniel Berrigan…

[ Books by Daniel Berrigan ]


In honor of the occasion, here’s a brief video
of Kurt Vonnegut honoring him on his 85th birthday (2006)…

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“Finally Comes the Poet

A Review of
Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings.
Selected and Introduced by John Dear.

Reviewed by Stephen Lawson.

After the seas are all cross’d, (as they seem already cross’d,)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the
geologist, ethnologist,

Finally shall come the poet worthy that name,
The true son of God shall come singing his songs.
– Walt Whitman

Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings.
Selected and Introduced by John Dear.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Daniel Berrigan: Essential WritingsOn May 17, 1968, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Daniel Berrigan, together with his brother Philip and seven others, walked into a draft office in Cantonsville, Maryland. They commandeered draft files, which contained the information for potential draftees, took them into the parking lot and burned them with homemade napalm. Daniel Berrigan issued an apology (read: defense) on behalf of the ‘Cantonsville Nine’ (as they came to be known): “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise” (105).

This prophetic action cause national controversy. In the midst of an already highly controversial war, the Cantonsville Nine brought religion into the discussion. How could priests and other peaceable people disrupt the status quo of in such a stark way? This action saw the imprisonment of Christians, clergy and laity alike, for living out what they believed was their faith. This witness is a challenge to other Christians who have so often been complicit in war and violence.
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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  No where is that more true than in this wonderful little book by Jonas Bendiksen called The Places We Live (Aperture 2008).  Prepare to be drawn into a world and a reality that is far from our own.

             At the end of this past century, it was estimated that close to a billion people lived in the world’s slums.  It is also thought that by the middle of this next century those numbers could easily double.  The Places We Live takes us on an unforgettable journey outside the bustling cities Caracas, Nairobi, Mumbai and Jakarta giving us an incredible glimpse into the hearts and minds of those who inhabit the slums and shanty towns that are growing by the day outside of so many of our world’s cities.  “The common perception of slums as locations of poverty, squalor, destitution insecurity and danger tells one part of the story—but there are also stories of enterprising, hardworking slum denizens. Life in a shantytown is full of challenges and hardship, but shanties are homes, where conversations take place over dinner, kids do homework and neighbors live next door.”   The photography in this little book is amazing and the stories captivating; we find here a broader global perspective that we desperately need.  (L. Benjamin)

There are very few books that explore the relevance of the historical books of the Old Testament for our present world (one exception that comes to mind is Jacques Ellul’s The Politics of God and the The Politics of Man).  Daniel Berrigan’s recent book The Kings and Their Gods (Eerdmans 2008), however, is exactly this sort of book.  Berrigan works his way through the biblical books of I and II Kings, reflecting on the text and commenting on the meaning of the text in the present age.  Introducing the book, Berrigan summarizes his approach: “In sum, we are offered in the books of Judges, Samuel, Kings and Maccabees a diagnosis of the pathology of power.  Thus is implied a biblical anthropology, a biblical version of the human, conveyed in a stark ‘via negativa’” (6).  There is much we can learn here about our American lusts for power and Berrigan is an ideal prophet to speak these truths to us.  (C. Smith)

Todd Hunter’s new book Christianity Beyond Belief: Following Jesus for The Sake of Others ( IVP Books, 2009) is refreshing in the theology that it offers us.  Hunter offers a new and corrective view of the Christian faith for those who are dissatisfied with evangelicalism.  Hunter offers what I believe are some essential critiques (e.g., chapters addressing “What if you knew you were going to live tomorrow?: The problem of getting ‘Saved’” or “The Role of the Church: Jesus is not just your personal savior”) but he does so in a gentle and engaging way.  He depicts the Church in terms of four facets:

  • Cooperative Friends of Jesus
  • Living in Creative Goodness
  • For the Sake of Others
  • Through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

My only disappointment, and it is a relatively small one, is that the thrust of all this excellent theological framework is driving toward a programmatic solution, what Hunter calls “Three is Enough” groups.  Maybe this sort of direction is what the primary audience of this book expects or needs, but in my experience, programs — however well-intentioned — never seem to be sustainable in what they set out to do.  Take the last chapter and the appendix on “Three is Enough” groups with a grain of salt and this is an excellent book, that I pray will find a wide audience in evangelical churches.  (C. Smith)

Jonas Bendiksen.

Hardcover: Aperture, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $33 ]   [ Amazon ]



Daniel Berrigan.

Paperback: Eeerdmans, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $17 ]   [ Amazon ]



Todd Hunter.
Hardcover: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $18 ]   [ Amazon ]