A careful, heartfelt textual deconstruction of Psalm 37 that reassures its readers: “He shall deliver them from the wicked,...

Trust Without Borders

A nonfiction debut offers an exhaustive explication of one of the most famous psalms of the Bible.

Alexander’s work is a book-length, line-by-line guided tour of Psalm 37, which some readers will recall as rolling in the great, long cadences of the King James translation, urging the faithful of ancient Judea to “Trust in the Lord, and do good;… so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” The author tends to prefer the modern clarity of the New American Standard translation, but this volume isn’t for biblical scholars in any case. Rather, it’s a combination of church group elements: lively discussion, close textual reading, personal anecdotes, and workbook-style discussion questions with space for readers to write in answers. And the overriding theme of Alexander’s interpretation is the note struck repeatedly in the psalm: trust. The faithful must place their complete trust in God, regarding every aspect of their lives, rather than hedging their bets. “Our lack of trust doesn’t keep us safe; it makes us useless in the Kingdom of God,” Alexander writes with typical quotable directness. “Trust is the bedrock of obedience.” The subject of justice comes up quite often in the poem, for instance, with the writer assuring listeners that the wicked only prosper for a little while and that God’s sense of fairness remains absolute and persistent. Alexander illustrates this and many other points with stories from her many years working actively in Christian communities, and these tales go a long way toward humanizing what would otherwise have been only a long work of exegesis. But Alexander brings everything back around to trust, even going so far as to write: “Father, it surely means more to You for us to say, ‘I trust you,’ than for us to say the words, ‘I love you.’ ” The strength and clarity of these glosses should make this a valuable work for Christian study sessions.

A careful, heartfelt textual deconstruction of Psalm 37 that reassures its readers: “He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.”

Pub Date: May 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4908-9881-0

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2016

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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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