WAITING FOR THE LORD: 33 Meditations on Man and God by Gordon Allport

WAITING FOR THE LORD: 33 Meditations on Man and God

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sermons--simple, nonsectarian, quietly eloquent--delivered by the great psychologist at Harvard's Appleton Chapel from 1938 to 1966. Reflecting out loud rather than preaching, Allport surveys recent history, the Bible, and religious experience in general from the vantage point of liberal Christian humanism. Though these brief pieces have no organic connection, one major theme runs through many of them: ""the fact of Being. . . the most pervasive mystery of all."" Allport sees this unfathomable reality underlying all religion, much as the unfathomable mystery of consciousness underlies all psychology. Religious symbols (theological language, for instance) try to express its richness, but they ultimately fall short, and the mature individual has to move through and beyond them. Yet Allport is cautious about abandoning doctrinal tradition. He especially warns against reducing religion to mere ethics, ""the perfume of an empty vase."" No ethical system, he insists, whether Christian or Stoic, can come to terms by itself with evil. Again and again he turns to Job as a model for finding the ""best fit""--the most authentic personal response to the agonizing questions of life. For each of these little talks Allport had no more than five or six minutes, but he handles this limitation beautifully. Deftly, suggestively, he sketches out a notion and lets the reader fill in the rest. Like so many ""amateurs"" in religion, he puts the professionals to shame.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1978
Publisher: Macmillan