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The Holy Spirit & Preaching

The Holy Spirit & PreachingThe Holy Spirit & Preaching by James Forbes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed hearing Dr. Forbes on a handful of occasions, and especially the time I ate breakfast with him when he was last in Omaha sponsored by mine and another local church.

Yet, I did not get much out of this book, the published version of his 1986 Lyman Beecher lectures. The key idea can be summarized in this quote, "The anointing of the Holy Spirit is that process by which one comes to a fundamental awareness of God's appointment, empowerment, and guidance for the vocation to which we are called."

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The End of Memory

The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent WorldThe End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World by Miroslav Volf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A profound theological exploration of remembering and forgetting.

Volf was at one time a prisoner of the communist forces of his native Yugoslavia, where he underwent interrogation that was a form of psychological torture. What should he do with those memories? What should all people do with memories of pain, trauma, and suffering?

A deeply personal book that draws from the rich wells of the Christian tradition, literature, and philosophy, Volf considers how we should remember and remember well and when and how we should forget, including how forgetting is connected to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Volf's ideas are filled with hope and healing for a broken world. I found the book not only intellectual stimulating, but personally helpful.

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The Wrong of Rudeness

The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese PhilosophyThe Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy by Amy Olberding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olberding develops her argument carefully and subtly. The slow and gentle steps mimic the politeness and civility she is arguing for. The book works quietly upon you, persuading you and drawing you in. One wishes that more people will read the book, so that it might work upon the public consciousness.

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Kings of Broken Things

Kings of Broken ThingsKings of Broken Things by Theodore Wheeler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I timed the reading of Wheeler's novel to fall this week as Omaha observes the centennial of the lynching of Will Brown, the event that climaxes this story.

Wheeler's writing has influences of DeLillo, as he follows a handful of teenagers and young adults, mostly immigrants, in World War I era Omaha.

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Wendell Berry's Lifelong Dissent

A good essay in the Nation on Wendell Berry as his new volume of collected essays is published.

Even as Berry made himself a student of the flaws of local life, he sought to refashion its patterns of community and culture into something that might repair them. For him, narrowing the horizons of one’s life is the only responsible way of living, since it is how we might actually heal old wounds, clean up our own mess, and give an honest account of ourselves. Throughout his essays, he makes this case for ecological reasons but also for moral ones. Farming on a local scale, he argues, can respond to the nuances of soil and landscape and can rebuild the fertility cycle of dirt to plant to manure to dirt. Ethics also has its limits of scale. “We are trustworthy only so far as we can see,” he insists. The patterns of care that give ethics life also require a specific space. To hold ourselves accountable, we need a palpable sense of what is sustaining us and what good or harm we are doing in return. Community depends on the sympathy and moral imagination that “thrives on contact, on tangible connection.”