A learned, illuminating, and highly personal exploration of a crucial text from St. Paul.

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Philippians

UNITY OF MIND & JOY OF SPIRIT

A pastor’s ambitious examination of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians in the New Testament.

Petrus, since 1994 the pastor of Oakdale Missionary Baptist Church in Lonoke, Arkansas, takes as the subject of his nonfiction debut one of the cornerstones of Christian dogma, Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The author analyzes and lays out the letter in 21 segments hinging on two interpretative axes, both central to Pauline doctrine: the delight in serving God (“a church should have great joy of service and joy in doing the pleasing things of their heavenly Father,” he writes) and the essential importance of harmony in the assembly (“unity of mind is our rightful manner of operation”). Petrus goes line by line through the epistle, grounding his readings in both a sharp historical contextualization of Paul’s world and a broader spiritual interpretation. For example, after reading “Moreover, since the result is to be living in flesh, then this is fruit of work for me,” Petrus enjoyably expounds, “Old-timers used to use the term good pickin’ as an exclamation about the goodness of a crop. Planting has a reward, a glorious side to it for the beneficiary. Surely there is satisfaction in seeing a plant grow from a seed.” Elaborations like this are scattered throughout the book, helping newcomers to understand Paul's sometimes-tangled Christology and fleshing out familiar issues and meanings for believers—and always to skillful pedagogical effect (“very little joy comes without a foundation of teaching,” he writes). Petrus follows Paul in downplaying individual egotism (“The self must be crucified! Selfishness must be thrown out and replaced”) and stressing community (“A church is in great need of more than just good organization, it needs true cohesion in unity, as the Bible expresses”). The thrust of the text is toward reinforcement; the target audience is obviously Christians, for whom—in both New Testament Bible study groups and seminaries—it will be an honest, invaluable guide.

A learned, illuminating, and highly personal exploration of a crucial text from St. Paul.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5127-0707-6

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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