Archives For Review

 


From Mountain to the Ocean:
The Flow of Awareness

 
A Feature Review of
 

An Ocean of Light:
Contemplation, Transformation, Liberation
Martin Laird

 
Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018.
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Hearts & Minds Books ]  

 
Reviewed by Christopher Brown
 
 
The town where I live in Colorado sits on the edge of the plains at the foot of the mountains. To the west of us, Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker rise to elevations of 14,259’ and 13,911’ respectively. They are immense, immovable mountains that have given me new perspective on Psalm 125:1: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” Some days the view is crystal clear, free of any haze and without even a cloud touching the mountains. On other days I watch as storms encircle the peaks, covering them in snow and blotting out my view of them. These constantly changing scenes often remind me of Martin Laird’s words in Into the Silent Land, “The marvelous world of thoughts, sensation, emotions, and inspiration, the spectacular world of creation around us, are all patterns of stunning weather on the holy mountain of God. But we are not the weather. We are the mountain. . . . When the mind is brought to stillness we see that we are the mountain and not the changing patterns of weather appearing on the mountain. We are the awareness in which thoughts and feelings (what we take to be ourselves) appear like so much weather on Mount Zion” (16).

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Thin Places
 
A Review of 

Dreaming of Stones: Poems
Christine Valters Paintner

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2019
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Hearts & Minds Books ]

 
Reviewed by Michial Farmer
 
 
Midway through Dreaming of Stones, her new collection of poems, Christine Valters Paintner writes that her mission as a writer and a human being is to remember “the wonder that there is anything, / much less bluebells and fresh bread, / the way world are encapsulated / in drops of dew” (“In Praise of Forgetting,” ll. 23-26). As far as aesthetic mission statements go, you could do a lot worse—especially for a poet like Paintner, whose poems skate the line between physical and metaphysical, between ordinary and sacramental. Though she doesn’t say so directly, Paintner’s poetics demonstrate Simone Weil’s famous observation that attention is a form of prayer. Perhaps all good poetry does that, but Paintner seems particularly cognizant of it.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1611803373″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/41MYIGo7FL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]An Old Friend Newly Met
 
A Feature Review of
 

On Thomas Merton
Mary Gordon

 
Hardback: Shambhala, 2019
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Reviewed by Mark Jenkins
 
 
 
The New York Times has called Mary Gordon “the bard of the American Catholic experience.” I suspect she isn’t comfortable with that title. On more than one occasion she has paraphrased Flannery O’Connor saying that, in our time, one has to “suffer because of the church and not for the church.” Gordon’s approach/avoidance response to the church—any church—particularly in its more dogmatic and sexist iterations is healthy.

Such attitudes uniquely qualify her perspective on Thomas Merton, his life, and his writing. Like Merton, she is keenly aware of the ambiguities and tensions of being labeled a “Catholic writer.” She can be fiercely loyal to Roman Catholicism, but never unquestioningly so. Not unlike Merton in his final years of life.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1978702019″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/511nIF3j2EL-1.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”209″]Mapping the Landscape
of Christian Ethics

A Review of

Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics:
On Loving Enemies

D. Stephen Long

Hardback: Lexington Books, 2018
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Reviewed by David W. Opderbeck
 
 
Steve Long has a talent for seeing a way through tensions between competing movements in contemporary theology.  In his 2014 book Saving Karl Barth: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Preoccupation (Fortress Press, 2014), Long addressed the debates over natural theology and the analogia entis that still divide Protestant theology in a Barthian key from Catholic theology sympathetic to von Balthasar.  As Long showed in that book, while there are real differences, contemporary theology can benefit from insights from both of these great thinkers, even as Barth and von Balthasar benefitted in their own lifetimes from their personal friendship.

Now, in Augustinian and Ecclesial Christian Ethics, Long takes up a related set of differences in Christian ethics, between “neo-Anabaptists” and “neo-Augustinians.”  The “neo-Anabaptists” – or, as Long comes to refer to them, the “ecclesial” ethicists, are represented by John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, James William McClendon, and others who have taken up their work.  The “neo-Augustinians” are represented by Oliver O’Donovan, John Milbank, Eric Gregory, Charles Mathewes, Jennifer Herdt, and others who are more sympathetic to the “Augustinian realism” of Reinhold Niebuhr. In many ways, the ecclesial ethicists represent the Barthian side of Saving Karl Barth, while the neo-Augustinians represent the von Balthasarian side (though O’Donovan is perhaps a Barthian Augustinian).

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0814645925″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/51lMP2hM3dL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Toward A Deeper Life of Dialogue
 
A Brief Review of
 

Finding Jesus Among Muslims:
How Loving Islam Makes Me A Better Catholic
Jordan Denari Duffner

Paperback: Liturgical Press, 2018.
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0814645925″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07B6N3M75″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
 
Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
 
In an age when hostility toward those of the Muslim faith is all too common, Jordan Denari Duffner in her recent book Finding Jesus Among the Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me A Better Catholic, points us in a different – and more Christ-like – direction. Duffner’s approach is grounded, as she notes in her introduction, in the virtues of dialogue. “We are called to dialogue,” she observes, “because God dialogues. As Christians, we believe in one God who is also Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Augustine understood this three-in-one God as a communication – or dialogue – of love, in which the Father and Son give and receive love, and the Holy Spirit is the love between them. God also dialogues with humanity” (4).

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The Ecology of Faith Formation

 
A Review of

Cultivating Teen Faith:
Insights from the Confirmation Project
Richard Osmer / Katherine Douglass, Eds.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018
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Reviewed by Daniel Ogle
 
 
The good news – and there is plenty of good news shared in Cultivating Teen Faith – is that when it comes to teenagers participating in confirmation, they are participating by and large in order to form a stronger connection with God.

Cultivating Teen Faith, edited by Richard Osmer and Katherine Douglass, is an interpretation of a three-year study of how over 3000 Christian congregations guide teenagers through an intentional process of Christian formation under the broad heading of confirmation.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0310351847″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/41LZkyYQ7WL-1.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”218″]Toward Greater Courage and
More Authentic Community
 
A Review of

The Color of Life:
A Journey toward Love and Racial Justice
Cara Meredith

Paperback: Zondervan, 2019
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Reviewed by David Swanson
 
 
On October 1, 1962, James Meredith enrolled in the University of Mississippi for his final year of college. What should have been a straightforward process involving applications and recommendations was anything but easy. Riots broke out on campus two nights before the arrival of the 29-year-old incoming senior. The possibility of the first African American student at Ole Miss was significant enough to draw concerted opposition from the governor of Mississippi and intervention by Robert Kennedy, then the U.S. Attorney General. Reflecting later, Meredith, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, remembered his time at the university as a war, one which he won by forcing the federal government to intervene to defend his civil rights. This was a war against white supremacy and Meredith was willing to lead the charge, no matter how violent the response.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1400208416″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/412hztztPFL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Flourishing in Conversation
 
A Review of

I Think You’re Wrong
(But I’m Listening):
A Guide to Grace-Filled
Political Conversations

Sarah Stewart Holland /
Beth Silvers

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2019
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Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers are long-time friends and co-hosts of the Pantsuit Politics podcast. More significantly though, they sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum: Sarah is a Democrat (a former Hillary Clinton campaign worker) and Beth is a Republican. Together they have written an important new book, I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening), that guides us toward “grace-filled political conversations.” Sarah and Beth invite us into the joys and vulnerability of a conversational life:

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0385544529″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/51j9qLvk1FL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”220″]The Capacity to Change
 
A Brief Review of

The King and the Catholics:
England, Ireland, and the Fight for Religious Freedom, 1780–1829
Antonia Fraser

Hardback: Doubleday, 2018
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Reviewed by David E. Anderson
 
 
Fans of Antonia Fraser, the well-regarded surveyor of the British (The Wives of Henry VIII) and French monarchies (Marie Antoinette: The Journey) as well as a popular novelist (the “Jemima Shore” novels), will find much to enjoy in this history of Catholic emancipation in Great Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0830845445″ locale=”US” src=”http://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/51zPVur24PL.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Who is the Holy Spirit?
 
A Brief Review of

Here In Spirit:
Knowing the Spirit Who Creates, Sustains, and Transforms Everything
Jonathan Dodson

Paperback: IVP Books, 2018
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[ [easyazon_link identifier=”0830845445″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07G3F91V1″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07JJRDYLR” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

 
Reviewed by Alisa Williams
 
 
In this brief book, author Jonathan K. Dodson invites the reader to discover who the Holy Spirit is and to come to know Him better. “The most meaningful, creative, satisfying life possible is one lived here in Spirit,” writes Dodson in the introduction (5).

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