A very good and encouraging message:
I have listened to these two talks (only about fifteen minutes each) on different occasions. Gentle and beautiful reflections on a spiritual sickness you may not be familiar with.
I’ve now read five of Smith’s books. From time to time, I also read his essays. He is a gifted wordsmith.
Since I’ve written elsewhere (see link below) about my main concern over what Smith has to say about liturgy, let me add that Imagining the Kingdom has many brilliant insights. And ones I largely agree with.
Smith does a better job clarifying his thesis in this book than he did in Desiring the Kingdom. I remain disappointed that he does not address the formative role that mindfully engaged (mindfully is crucial here) meditation on Scripture has for spiritual health.
HT: Tony Reinke
There are many things to like about this book, no matter which one of the big three traditions (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) you belong to.
Chaput is a lucid writer who has clearly done his homework. His book ranges over many significant thinkers, past and present. His analysis of our cultural moment is sobering, but never gloomy. He well understands the indispensable virtue of Christian hope.
I read Dreher’s The Benedict Option, but find Chaput’s approach much more in keeping with the entire record of Scripture.
*Have you ever heard a sermon on a developing a theology of work? If you have, did Bezalel and his buddy, Oholiab, figure prominently?
*Have you ever heard an entire sermon on a theology of rest?
*How often do Christians ask what you are learning from God’s Word?
*With respect to the previous question, how often do you ask your Christian friends?
*Has anyone ever told you that a minor prophet was formative in their spiritual development?
*With respect to the major prophets, has anyone ever mentioned Ezekiel?
*Have you ever heard a sermon on the silence of God?
*Have you ever heard a sermon on biblical rewards?
*Have you ever heard a sermon on how to obey the two commandments of Jesus in Mt. 10:16: Being both shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove?
*Have you ever heard a sermon on not confusing the flag with the kingdom of God?
*Have you ever heard a sermon on how we ought to treat “foreigners,” especially as applied to refugees?
Excerpt from my forthcoming book:
Pascal had much to say about diversions in his classic book, Pensées. Pascal wrote how diversions can be greatly multiplied if you are wealthy. More money equals more things to get distracted by. This is still true today, but there are plenty of things all of us Americans, irrespective of income, can get diverted by. For example, most of us have computers which can transport us to all kinds of worlds which then can keep us from thinking about the most important matters of life. We may not feel very rich, but from a global or historical vantage point we are fabulously well off. Most of us take things like air conditioning, quality water, and consistent electricity for granted. As Bill Ball told a Sunday school class I was teaching, “Kings of the past would have been thrilled by owning a used Vega car and having unlimited access to petrochemicals.”
…CHECK YOUR PULSE!
My latest interview on Patheos:
Journalist and gadfly, Rod Dreher, loves a good argument. If you read him, as I do, you know he can write and has loads of good things to offer. He pushes boundaries at times, sometimes makes incautious assertions, but you are always forced to think.
This is the second book I’ve read by Dreher. A few months back I read The Benedict Option book. How Dante Can Save Your Life was finished on a flight home late last night. There is much I liked about it.
First, kudos to the publisher for an absolutely stunning design. There’s nothing like real books!
Dreher’s book is full of well-written and insightful observations all while using Dante’s Comedy as his conversation partner.
My only major beef with the book is the Mommie Dearest kind of approach. It’s great to have honesty, but Dreher tells us far too much about the conflicts in his home. At times it felt like a Jerry Springer show in print.
Still, there is much to benefit from in reading How Dante Can Save Your Life.