A bold case for seeing God in a whole new way.

SAVING GOD FROM RELIGION

A MINISTER'S SEARCH FOR FAITH IN A SKEPTICAL AGE

A radically new way for churches to see God: Look around, not up.

If the church is to survive, writes pastor and author Meyers (Spiritual Defiance: Building a Beloved Community of Resistance, 2015, etc.), it must start relating to God in a different way. Believers must focus less on what they believe and more on what they should do. As a map for what the path that he believes the church should follow, the author points to the Sermon on the Mount, which contains every detail Jesus ever taught but says nothing about what one must believe. The sermon focuses entirely on action and the importance of working for justice, which, Meyers points out, is the same gospel that the Hebrew Bible’s major prophets preached many years earlier. The author argues that in order to manifest this new approach to religion, we must stop looking for God “up there” and start seeing God as existing on our level, literally in our relationships with others: "Instead of concluding that we are ‘a little lower than God,’ we might consider something that is both more frightening and more empowering: that we are the very image of God, and that our treatment of one another is our treatment of God." Meyers is blunt here: If the church doesn’t make working for justice its reason for being, it will continue hemorrhaging members until it dies. However, the author is not all doom and gloom. He firmly believes that if churches make justice their primary concern, they will become relevant again and continue to be a source of wisdom and transformation. This may not be a book for all believers, but Meyers believes a significant audience is waiting, which he characterizes as “everyone who is struggling with the old and narrow definitions of God but has yet to see any coherent and comprehensive way to reimagine the Ultimate Mystery.”

A bold case for seeing God in a whole new way.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984822-51-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Convergent/Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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