An enlightening though unpolished take on a universal subject, which could prove useful for pastors and worship leaders...

GRIEVING HEARTS IN WORSHIP

Landon’s debut Christian devotional book goes where relatively few such books have gone by examining how grief can influence Christian worship.

Landon states several times in his book that he has observed a correlation between grief and a bereaved person’s interaction with the rest of the world, including their church participation. As a pastor of several different churches and a former hospice chaplain, Landon wrote this book to combat this troubling link. After describing the grieving process, he offers ways to invite the notion of grief into worship services. He presents complete worship services for a variety of occasions, from All Saints Day to Ash Wednesday to run-of-the-mill Sundays that may fall near the anniversary of the death of an important church member. In his services, he includes hymns, litanies, special poems and readings, and even full texts of sermons. Although he acknowledges that every church will pick and choose elements from these services to match their own styles, seeing a complete service helps convey the tone and intent behind the offering. Landon also discusses the importance of rituals in the grieving process, in both personal and communal worship. Rituals can be as complex as a full funeral service or as simple as lighting candles. One particular ritual that receives in-depth examination is walking a labyrinth—an ancient, revered Christian tradition that’s tied to the theme of grieving through worship—but with an entire chapter devoted to the practice, it seems out of place. It’s obviously a passion of Landon’s, although it’s not quite clear why walking a labyrinth has been singled out here. Also, a distracting number of grammatical errors detract from the thought-provoking premise.

An enlightening though unpolished take on a universal subject, which could prove useful for pastors and worship leaders trying to reach their own grieving members.

Pub Date: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468563580

Page Count: 336

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2012

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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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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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