Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That Pretty Much Sums it Up…

I’ve been reading The Power of the Powerless, a collection of sermons written by German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, as a part of my daily devotions.  The sixth sermon, The Blessedness of the Peacemakers, is taken from Matthew 5:9 and hit me square in the face.  I’ve copied a rather lengthy quote from the sermon, which I believe, stands well on its own.  It’ll be worth your time to read.  I won’t make any comment except for one thing: I believe Moltmann’s words sum up rather nicely what I believe about what our call is as Christians in a world filled with hate and violence.  He says it far better than I ever could. 
”‘You are the children of your father in heaven.’  This reminder calls us out of the conflict.  Anyone who allows himself to be drawn into conflict, or carries on a conflict, is subject to the law of retaliation.  There is no other way of preserving an equilibrium in the struggle: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth –arm, rearm –rearm, arm.  But anyone who becomes involved in the law of retaliation towards his enemy is drawn into a vicious circle from which he can never escape.  He will become his enemy’s enemy, and a terror to the one who terrifies him.  He threatens what threatens him, and hates what hates him.  He increasingly takes his coloring from his enemy.  If evil is requited by evil, then the one evil takes its bearing from the other, and that is fatal.  We are only liberated from vicious circles like this if we cease to take or bearings from our enemy, and when another person is more important to us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Top 8 Books: 2011

Well, January 2012 is almost over.  I fully intended to write and finish a list of the best books I’ve read in the year 2011, by the end of 2011.  But it didn’t happen.  I went through my shelves, compiled a list and began to write.  Then…  No excuses, I just didn’t finish it before the New Year.  So, here’s a list of 8 of the best books I’ve read in the past year.  I haven’t attempted to provide a detailed review of each book, but I have said just a wee little bit about each one in hopes you might be interested enough to pick one of them up.