Archives For Truth

 

Love, Truth, and Conversation:
The Way Forward

 

C. Christopher Smith

 

The following is an editorial that will appear in the
Advent 2017 issue of our quarterly magazine.

***** Not a Subscriber? 
SUBSCRIBE NOW and be sure to
receive this coming issue!

 

“The US is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.”
– David Roberts, America is Facing An Epistemic Crisis, Vox.com

 

One of the most unsettling realities of Donald Trump’s presidency is his apparent assault on the institutions by which American society has traditionally measured and assessed truthfulness – particularly the institutions of science and freedom of the press. A cynic might posit that these institutions, and the truths that they uncover in the course of their work, might be taken as a threat to the interests of global corporations. Climate change, for instance, poses a threat to the coal and petroleum industries, and perhaps to a lesser extent the automotive industry and all its ancillaries. Undermine a society’s tools for discerning truth, the logic goes, and darkness prevails, along with all those who profit from darkness.

Continue Reading…

 

God’s People as Truth-tellers

 A Feature Review of

Truth Speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture
Walter Brueggemann

Paperback: WJK Books, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Aaron Woods

 
***Other Books By Walter Brueggemann
 

Power is a tricky thing for many of us to understand. What is power? How does it work and should we use it? Can it be used well or does it always corrupt? How does Scripture reframe the use of power? These questions and more are the focus of theologian, Walter Brueggemann, in his latest book, Truth Speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture.

 

In his retirement, Brueggemann continues to write extensively, and his books continue to enlighten. Truth Speaks to Power invites readers to reconsider commonly known Old Testament narratives in a new light: through the lens of truth and power. He challenges the reader through this hermeneutical lens to see that, whether the reader recognizes it or not, Scripture is in a process of contesting power.

Continue Reading…

 

George Orwell

Continue Reading…

 

Dan Ariely - The Honest TruthOur Book Trailer video of the week focuses on an excellent new book:

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves

Dan Ariely

Hardback: Harper, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Watch for our review in the near future…







Continue Reading…

 

A Review of

Busy Monsters: A Novel
William Giraldi.
Hardback: Norton, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Greg Schreur.

Normally I avoid books that include any of the following in their cast of characters: kraken, Sasquatch, space aliens, or Asiatic sex slaves. Busy Monsters, according to the book description, has all of them. Normally I want to be so immersed in the reading experience that I am not interrupted by moments of skepticism. Busy Monsters almost begs you to stop and consider. But then again, William Giraldi’s engaging, smart, and readable first novel is anything but normal.

The basic plot follows Charlie Homar as he alternately tries to win back the love of his departed fiancée Gillian while other times seeks to move on into an uncertain future without her. Pushing him toward the latter—while loyally supporting Charlie’s longing—is longtime friend and sometime foil, Groot, who is also a lethal Navy SEAL. Groot’s guidance proves helpful in a number of situations, including Charlie’s determination to kill Gillian’s ex-boyfriend. For other missions, Groot is on duty in Afghanistan or under firm orders from his mother to pick up an ice-cream cake for his father’s birthday party.

Groot’s duality as assassin/mama’s boy is emblematic of the duality that is present throughout the novel. To begin with, Charlie, the narrator of Busy Monsters, is a memoirist. A clear conflict of interests, you might say. Yet because each of Charlie’s misadventures becomes a part of his serialized memoirs, Giraldi is onto something different altogether.

Continue Reading…

 

Galileo
George MacDonald

*** Books by George Macdonald
‘And yet it moves!’ Ah, Truth, where wert thou then
When all for thee they racked each piteous limb?
Wert thou in heaven, and busy with thy hymn
When those poor hands convulsed that held thy pen?
Art thou a phantom that deceives! men
To their undoing? or dost thou watch him
Pale, cold, and silent in his dungeon dim?
And wilt thou ever speak to him again?
‘It moves, it moves! Alas, my flesh was weak!
That was a hideous dream! I’ll cry aloud
How the green bulk wheels sunward day by day!
Ah me! ah me! perchance my heart was proud
That I alone should know that word to speak!
And now, sweet Truth, shine upon these, I pray.’




 

The Fool’s Song
William Carlos Williams

( Found in
The Collected Poems of
William Carlos Williams, Vol. 1: 1909-1939
)

I tried to put a bird in a cage.
    O fool that I am!
  For the bird was Truth.
    Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
  Truth in a cage!

And when I had the bird in the cage,
    O fool that I am!
  Why, it broke my pretty cage.
    Sing merrily, Truth; I tried to put
  Truth in a cage!

And when the bird was flown from the cage,
    O fool that I am!
  Why, I had nor bird nor cage.
    Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
Truth in a cage!
  Heigh-ho! Truth in a cage.

 

“The Healing Power of Truth, Love and Belief”

A Review of
Imperfect Birds:
A Novel

By Anne Lamott.

Reviewed by Jeni Newswanger-Smith.


Imperfect Birds:
A Novel

Anne Lamott.
Hardback: Riverhead, 2010.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

Anne Lamott - IMPERFECT BIRDSThere is some kind of joy, familiarity, recognition, when you pick up a new book with characters you’ve already known, and loved.   After reading the first few pages of Anne Lamott’s newest novel Imperfect Birds I found myself sinking comfortably into her familiar writing style, and reconnecting with familiar characters. There isn’t any good way to describe that particular feeling, except to say it feels a bit like coming home after a long absence. However, just like those homecomings can sometimes give way to tensions,  I was not reading too long before  I was angry and frustrated with what these characters were doing to themselves and each other.  By the climax of the book I was ready for an intense intervention, or at least a chance to kick their asses.
Continue Reading…

 

“The Body of Christ,
Recognized by the Diversity of its Parts”

A Review of
Manifold Witness:
The Plurality of Truth.

by John R. Franke.

Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.


Manifold Witness:
The Plurality of Truth.

by John R. Franke.
Paperback: Abingdon, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

“… One can defend objective truth or relativism only by assuming that it is possible for human beings to take up a ‘view from nowhere;’ since I don’t believe in ‘views from nowhere,’ I don’t believe in objective truth or relativism … Too often appeals to the objective truth of the gospel have served as a means for the church to evade its responsibility to live faithfully before the world. In short, Christians insisted that the gospel was objectively true regardless of how we lived. The paradigm I am advocating frankly admits that all truth claims require for their widespread acceptance the testimony of trusted and thereby authorized witnesses.”

-Phil Kenneson

John Franke - MANIFOLD WITNESSSuch is the gist of Kenneson’s essay “There’s No Such Thing As Objective Truth, And It’s A Good Thing, Too,” which presents in a few short pages an ecclesiological apologetic, asking that the church “live in such a way that our lives are incomprehensible apart from this God.” Locating the church as the embodied, gathered body of Christ – seriously, and in all its fullness – places a responsibility on the church to order its life together as an expression of the politics and economy of God. This economy is lived and placed, in time and space; it is particularizing, and it is communal by nature; in these relations, the Kingdom of God is made known.

It is within this contextual – and lived – understanding of the church (especially thinking through the ramifications of abandoning objective truth) that reading John Franke’s new book Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth has been especially exciting.

Continue Reading…

 

Jonathan Brink Reflects on
John Franke’s Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth
For The Emergent Village website

http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/brink-response-manifold-witness

It’s not often that you run into a book that explores a deep tension within the church in such a succinct way, that you say, “I wish I had written that.” But John Franke has done just that.

Franke recently released, “Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth” by Abingdon Press, a book that wrestles with the nature of truth and its apparent contradiction of plurality. How can truth be plural? Franke offers what is arguably one of the better responses to the common tension in the church as it grapples the shifting landscape towards postmodern culture.

Franke’s central thesis is,

“the expression of biblical and orthodox Christian faith is inherently and irreducibly pluralist.” (p.7)

At first glance, this kind of statement can be seen as a defense for cultural relativism. In other words, it seems like Franke is arguing for the idea that truth is relative. And if you close the book there, you’ll be missing out on a deeply informed argument away from this very idea.

Read the full review:
http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/brink-response-manifold-witness

Manifold Witness, The Plurality Of Truth.
John Franke.

Paperback: Abingdon, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]


Powells Books Reviews
Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre
by Rene Girard

http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=12259

In Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business, two door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen fight a bad-tempered homeowner. The manic tit-for-tat escalates from head banging to a demolished house and an exploded car. The three become more and more alike as their wiggy violence spirals without aim or purpose.

It’s funny because we know that that’s the way we are, from the cradle. You hit your brother; he hits back; you hit again, only harder. Aggressor and aggrieved become interchangeable, indistinguishable, and parents know there is little point in trying to figure out “who started it.”

As the Stanford scholar Rene Girard observes in the book-length interview Battling to the End, “The aggressor has always already been attacked” and so feels justified. Look at the Middle East.

But what if violence goes unchecked? “This is an apocalyptic book,” Girard states at the outset. The more probable such an endgame becomes, “the less we talk about it.”

Read the full review:
http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=12259

Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre
(Studies in Violence, Mimesis, and Culture).

Rene Girard
.
Paperback: Michigan State Univ. Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]