A sometimes-rousing call for Christians to remember the commandments’ wisdom.

PREACHING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

A compact sequence of sermons on the meaning of the Ten Commandments.

Debut author Ingraham begins his fast-paced overview by asserting that the country is currently embroiled in a “religious war”—specifically, an “effort to distance the United States of America from its Judeo-Christian beginnings despite the abundance of evidence contained in the writings of the Founding Fathers.” He ignores the explicitly secular principles that the Founding Founders wrote into the First Amendment, instead launching into a full-throated defense of the Ten Commandments and a lament about the removal of a monument commemorating them from public grounds in Alabama in 2004. “How much safer we would be if only we obeyed [God’s] commandments,” he writes. “How better this world would be if only his commandments prevailed.” Some commandments, of course, such as injunctions against killing, stealing, and bearing false witness, do prevail in most countries of the world. The author’s main focus is on the first commandment (“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”), and the book hardly acknowledges that billions of people adhere to non-Christian religions or no religion at all. Each successive chapter, however, goes on to explicate a single commandment in great detail, employing copious, well-chosen quotes from Scripture and anecdotes drawn from history. Ingraham is skillful at weaving the commandments into the broader context of the Old and New Testaments; he richly deepens his comments on “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” for instance, by discussing St. Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians. Other material is less comprehensible, however, such as “Put God first, and your mouth will be satisfied with good things such that your youth is renewed like the eagles,” which is no more understandable than its reference, Psalm 103:5. But for the most part, his preaching has a bluff, accessible air of long experience (“As our Creator, God knows what is best for us,” he points out. “His intent is not to be a killjoy”). Each chapter ends with a list of discussion questions, designed to prompt deeper examination of finer points.

A sometimes-rousing call for Christians to remember the commandments’ wisdom.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973602-09-5

Page Count: 111

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2018

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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