The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2017
Advent / Christmas Calendar
[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”250″ identifier=”1632531224″ locale=”US” src=”https://englewoodreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/51AQ9pK0t4L.jpg” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”165″]Wendell Berry
and the Given Life
Hardback: Franciscan Media, 2017
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”1632531224″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B06XCLD9LQ” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
There is no chapter on affection in this volume, although it too is central to Berry’s vision. But there is a wonderful and essential chapter on “membership” which is a unique and foundational piece of Berry’s understanding. The language of membership describes wholeness and health. It is Berry’s word for what St Paul called “the reconciliation of all things”. Membership is the connection with all things that brings health; rather than the withdrawal and withholding that brings damage. The destruction wrought by industrialism and war is the breaking of membership. Love and peaceableness seek the renewal of membership – to expand the circle of the we. But such living is perhaps the opposite of “simple living”. This call draws us into a conversation where we listen to more voices and take more things into account. It is a conversation that is long and deep; that we did not introduce and will not conclude. To rehearse everything I love about this book would require a recitation of, perhaps, the entirety of this book. I concluded it filled with gratitude and delight. Sutterfield’s agenda, however, like Berry’s, is about more than celebration: “When one begins to see the world with Berry’s eyes, it is difficult to remain comfortable, much less unchanged.” Perhaps the best books force us to put them down, and to get to work.
- from our review of this book by Ric Hudgens
in our Eastertide 2017 magazine issue.
( SUBSCRIBE NOW to the magazine)
LISTEN to the Renovare podcast interview with the author…