A spirited argument that challenges what the author sees as the hypocrisies of contemporary American Christian faith.

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For Goodness' Sake

PRINCIPLES OF AN ECOTHEOLOGY

Cuttino introduces a new, ecologically conscious Christianity in this theological work.

Both the planet and Christianity are in a precarious state in the 21st century, according to the author: nature is in flux due to human-generated climate change and unsustainable resource-gathering practices, and he says that fundamentalist American Christians are, by and large, failing to address them. In the face of scientific and economic progressivism, many Christian churches, he says, have fallen into reactionary stances that defy logic and the teachings of their religion. Cuttino laments the rise of this conservative, human-centered Christianity and calls for a return to what he believes is an older one: a comprehensive “ecotheology,” centered on the primacy of the system (societal and ecological) over the primacy of the individual. The brief volume offers comprehensive coverage of Cuttino’s targets, from problematic trends in contemporary Christianity, to the limits of capitalism (“Capitalism is not an unqualified Good”), to the parameters of good and evil (“Is America good?”), including textual support from the Bible. He also provides a basic outline for implementing ecotheology in the real world, and its implications for institutions as varied as higher education, the media, and charities. Cuttino’s points are well-argued, although readers’ faith will likely determine how compelling they find them. The author seems to have aimed this book mainly at a nonbelieving readership, so it’s not nearly as devout as one might expect—it gives ecology much greater weight than theology. This could perhaps limit its effect: Christian readers may not see enough of Christ in its pages, while secular readers will likely already agree with many of Cuttino’s assertions, but have no interest in his religious beliefs. The author is at his most convincing when he’s unmasking the inherent failures of our institutions. However, readers may be less engrossed when he begins to offer his own alternatives. Even so, his points are solid, his concern is real, and the world he imagines sounds, in many ways, preferable to our current one.

A spirited argument that challenges what the author sees as the hypocrisies of contemporary American Christian faith. 

Pub Date: April 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4834-1837-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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