Carefully and thoughtfully constructed arguments about contemporary Christianity and the questions believers should ask...

READ REVIEW

The God Nobody Knows

A debut book offers a meditation on contemporary faith and examines new ways of viewing God.

“I had looked my own mortality in the eye. And I flinched,” Harlan writes about her time in the hospital with heart attack–like symptoms. She then weaves together moments from this episode with tragic deaths of family members, her divorce, and a childhood Bible that triggers memories about the first covenant she ever made with God, a covenant she drifted away from but now, with these musings, has re-created to be “written not only on the pages of my Bible, but on my heart.” From there, Harlan leaves behind autobiography to instead express how contemporary Christianity in America weighs on her own heart, in particular the hypocrisy and infighting she sees among today’s denominations and how these issues limit Christians’ understanding of who God really is. Starting with Isaiah and then moving through specific moments of the Gospel, Harlan cites well-chosen verses and then employs them in strong arguments for a fundamental reassessment of God, Jesus, and the structure of the church, following up each idea with discussion questions for Bible studies. She takes particular care to introduce new perspectives, either historical or linguistic, on the disciples, the words of Jesus, and on the Israel of Christ’s day. In a standout moment, she reinterprets the well-known story of Lazarus’ resurrection, asserting it to be not about Jesus’ power “but rather [about] his genuine love and compassion.” Those two traits drive all of her arguments, both in content and style. Harlan is careful to never be too abrasive, accusatory, or overtly political, but she also refuses to shy away from calling out contradictory conservative viewpoints on war and poverty in America. She often addresses the reader directly and in the second person, writing like a passionate friend with strong convictions who is respectfully calling for reason, inclusiveness, and fresh perspectives on well-known doctrine.

Carefully and thoughtfully constructed arguments about contemporary Christianity and the questions believers should ask themselves in today’s world.

Pub Date: March 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-3466-9

Page Count: 94

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more