Well-written and engaging yet also folksy and approachable, especially for readers new to the Christian faith.

Grace and Mercy Are Free, and Hope Is Eternal

A debut book delivers a brief statement of basic Christian concepts.

Brownell presents a simple yet instructive introduction to the concepts of grace, mercy, and hope as they relate to the Christian faith. Her work is scripturally based, with a healthy dose of examples and allusions from the larger world of literature and even popular culture. The book has a traditionalist tone but is neither judgmental nor particularly conservative; it does, however, approach the Christian faith from a thoroughly orthodox, Protestant point of view. Brownell begins with a discussion of grace, which she defines simply as “unmerited favor.” In addition to other Scriptures, the author uses the Apostle Paul’s life experiences as an example of grace in the believer’s life. She also uses the conversion story of John Newton—writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”—to demonstrate the role and power of grace. Brownell goes on to discuss mercy, which she defines negatively as “God not punishing us for our sins like we deserve.” The author emphasizes that although God bestows mercy without price, it is the choice of each person whether or not to accept that offering through repentance. She proceeds to unfold a meaningful discussion of theological terms related to mercy, among them being justification (“the removal of the guilt of our sin”) and sanctification (“the healing of our sins”). Brownell explains at length the importance of giving thanks for the gift of mercy from God. Finally, she turns to hope, stating that “biblically, hope is confident expectation.” “Our hope,” the author points out, “comes from salvation in Jesus Christ.” Because of hope in redemption, eternal life, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil, the believer has no need to experience worry and concern. Taken as a whole, Brownell’s work provides useful guidance and food for thought for the burgeoning believer.

Well-written and engaging yet also folksy and approachable, especially for readers new to the Christian faith.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5336-3

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED

The Book of Genesis as imagined by a veteran voice of underground comics.

R. Crumb’s pass at the opening chapters of the Bible isn’t nearly the act of heresy the comic artist’s reputation might suggest. In fact, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural is fastidiously respectful. Crumb took pains to preserve every word of Genesis—drawing from numerous source texts, but mainly Robert Alter’s translation, The Five Books of Moses (2004)—and he clearly did his homework on the clothing, shelter and landscapes that surrounded Noah, Abraham and Isaac. This dedication to faithful representation makes the book, as Crumb writes in his introduction, a “straight illustration job, with no intention to ridicule or make visual jokes.” But his efforts are in their own way irreverent, and Crumb feels no particular need to deify even the most divine characters. God Himself is not much taller than Adam and Eve, and instead of omnisciently imparting orders and judgment He stands beside them in Eden, speaking to them directly. Jacob wrestles not with an angel, as is so often depicted in paintings, but with a man who looks not much different from himself. The women are uniformly Crumbian, voluptuous Earth goddesses who are both sexualized and strong-willed. (The endnotes offer a close study of the kinds of power women wielded in Genesis.) The downside of fitting all the text in is that many pages are packed tight with small panels, and too rarely—as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—does Crumb expand his lens and treat signature events dramatically. Even the Flood is fairly restrained, though the exodus of the animals from the Ark is beautifully detailed. The author’s respect for Genesis is admirable, but it may leave readers wishing he had taken a few more chances with his interpretation, as when he draws the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a provocative half-man/half-lizard. On the whole, though, the book is largely a tribute to Crumb’s immense talents as a draftsman and stubborn adherence to the script.

An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06102-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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