SHOULD WOMEN PREACH?

A Christian educator makes the case for female preachers in this debut spiritual study.
Spurred by remarks from fellow Christians that his church’s female pastor transgresses biblical teachings, Mancini deconstructs two often-cited passages from the Bible that directly address women and prophesy. In context, the Timothy passage describes the domestic sphere, with verses that call for women to “learn in silence” and not “to teach, nor to usurp authority over a man’s authority.” Mancini speculates that to learn in silence means to learn with humility, rather than literal muteness or conjugal submission. He indicates that the warning against usurping reflexively refers to men, because neither partner should dominate the other. Instead, he surmises, men and women should work together as one, as in the image they were made in the form of Adam and Eve, subject to only the Lord’s teachings. The second verse Mancini examines revolves around two selections from Corinthians. Mancini places these verses in a historical context, arguing the admonishment of women speaking in church specifically chastises Corinthian women. Citing biblical evidence that Corinthian women were rebuked for being immodest, he suggests they may have also been especially gossipy, distracting from the church’s focus on spiritual matters. He encourages male and female followers to keep the church’s focus on Christ and to leave outside interests at the sanctuary door. This somewhat flimsy reasoning characterizes the book’s conclusions, but Mancini makes clear his earnest support of women as Christian leaders. In addition to adding a measure of cadence, underlined phrases from quoted verses emphasize key diction that Mancini uses to construct his case. That rhythm, coupled with Mancini’s use of second person, give passages a tone closer to a preacher’s sermon than an academic’s explication. His folksy asides about women’s inane chattiness—“let’s face it, if we get a bunch of ladies together and they start giving their opinions, it can turn into ugliness and confusion”—and men’s tendency to dismiss women’s contributions do little to encourage a feminist approach to Christianity, but this slim volume may start the conversation.
An enthusiastic, if not erudite, inquisition of biblical support for women’s leadership in the church. 

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490804583

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2014

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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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