THE HEART IS A LITTLE TO THE LEFT by William Sloane Coffin

THE HEART IS A LITTLE TO THE LEFT

Essays on Public Morality
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This slim volume gathers together seven essays by Coffin, former chaplain at Yale and pastor of New York’s Riverside Church. For Coffin, politics and religion are inseparable, and the constant theme of these essays is the need for social justice. Quoting Brazilian Archbishop Camara, Coffin reminds readers that “ ‘the heart is a little to [the] left.’ You don’t have to give socialist answers, but you do have to press socialist questions.” In “The Warhorse,” the antinuclear activist makes nuclear disarmament, an issue that faded from most people’s radar screens years ago, seem not only relevant but feasible. The crown jewel of the collection is “The Politics of Compassion,” a rousing jeremiad on behalf of the poor. It’s unfortunate that many on the Christian right, who would be challenged and stretched by Coffin’s political message, will be put off by some of his theological ax-grinding. His glib dismissal of scriptural authority, for example, is irrelevant to his larger vision and is guaranteed to be off-putting to orthodox readers. In the Bible, Joel prophesied that “Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” This book makes clear why Coffin is one of America’s most valuable visionaries and dreamers.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1999
ISBN: 0-87451-958-6
Page count: 96pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999




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