A complex and detailed call for Christians to embrace the knowledge of their faith.

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KNOWLEDGE UNTO RELATIONSHIP

A BIBLICAL DESTINY

An extensive study explores the role that different kinds of knowledge play in Christianity.

Romine’s impressive nonfiction debut is a comprehensive and lucid examination of the complicated role of knowledge—as both a category and a process—in the Christian faith structure. The author’s initial target will be familiar to readers of contemporary fundamentalist homiletics: “postmodernism,” here characterized as a rootless, unmoored search for merely provisional truths. This is a very different thing from the apprehension of essential, unchanging truths that is, according to Romine, the goal of faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s important, the author writes, for seekers to be sure that external, objective truth actually exists: “Postmodernism has worked against this, hindering the way to knowing God by destabilizing the tenets of knowledge.” Those tenets, in Romine’s worldview, are faith and a relationship with God, which are constant and not subject to destabilization. Unlike the impermanence readers see today in relationships, the author asserts, “God is different. His desire is for real commitment.” According to Romine, that commitment comes from the Holy Spirit, which “illumes the mind and heart” and creates the grounding for integrity and character in believers. The dichotomy at work here is elemental; the author deftly explains that formal reasoning has its limits because it’s unable to accept revelation, which is, readers are told, “a knowledge proper to theology, superseding the natural reach of philosophy and science.” At heart this isn’t a revolutionary synthesis; the idea of Stephen Jay Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” divide between faith and science has appeared in one form or another as long as both disciplines have existed. But Romine intriguingly elaborates on the concept of external, objective truth and the fact that the faithful grasp it through the interplay of their souls’ three components—mind, heart, and will—narrowly skirting the familiar and disastrous suggestion that all postmodern knowledge is false knowledge. The last thing Christianity needs would be another book denying the findings of science.

A complex and detailed call for Christians to embrace the knowledge of their faith.

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-3760-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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