The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer
By John Dominic Crossan, copyright 2010 – 190 pages – can be found in our Flanders Church Library under Pr/C
"The Lord’s Prayer is Christianity’s greatest prayer. It is also Christianity’s strangest prayer. It is prayed by all Christians but it never mentions Christ. It is prayed in all churches, but it never mentions church. It is prayed on all Sundays, but it never mentions Sunday. It is called the Lord’s Prayer, but it never mentions "Lord"." (page 1)
"The Lord’s Prayer is for me both a revolutionary manifesto and a hymn of hope. It is revolutionary, because it presumes and proclaims the radical vision of justice that is the core of Israeli biblical tradition. It is a hymn because it presumes and produces poetic techniques that are the core of Israel’s biblical poetry." (page 2)
"I started with the presupposition that I would find in the prayer what the historical Jesus stood for – or knelt for." (page 7)
To spend a couple of days rethinking what you knew or thought you knew, about this prayer and what it meant to the folks who gathered around this first century Galilean carpenter, pay a visit to our library.
Jean E. Lee
The Blaikie Report: An Insider's Look at Faith and Politics by the Rev. Bill Blaikie
It is a tale of 30 years of active political life by a United Church minister born in north Winnipeg, a railway community. It is the positive story of a man who struggles constantly to live his understanding of a Christian in politics.Over the 30 years hegets to act as critic for a number of different portfolios and to explore their political implications. He also gets to attend a number of different international conferences and meet interesting people. He is able to encounter them as real people, whether as Canadians from a different party or as foreigners from a different world and different political understanding.
His last chapter, "A Passion for Justice", describes his constant struggle to seek out what justice means whether in Latin america or in the sale of his beloved Canadian National Railway to the americans. He ends with the statement: "What I hope for is that out of each faith's prophetic tradition that the needed unity can emerge, that out of a united ethical vision, peace and justice between religious communities can be more hopefully pursued, even as important differences continue to be identified and better understood."
This is a hopeful book in its sharing of a political life, the politician who inhabited it and the world and the world around them and aroundus.
November Book Review
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
A Twelve-Step Program is a set of guiding principles (accepted by members as 'spiritual principles,' based on the approved literature) outlining a course of action for recovery….. (Wikipedia). Armstrong, in the preface to her book, states:
All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. Each has formulated its own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule,….. Yet sadly we hear little about compassion these days.
The first step is learning about compassion. We are urged to explore what our spiritual tradition teaches about compassion. Armstrong’s writing is always based on her immense and well-researched knowledge of the principal faith traditions and the book concludes with an extensive list of suggestions for further reading. But learning, to make a difference, must translate into action and the following chapters lead us through the remaining eleven steps, from ‘Look at Your Own World’ to ‘Love Your Enemies’. In this age of rapidly changing technology and sharing information on social media, it was humbling to read the seventh step: ‘How Little We Know’. Armstrong reminds us that the knowledge we acquire through the arts and humanities does not advance in the same way that science breaks new ground. The wisdom of Socrates and the insight of Confucius speak to our ‘wish for a better world’.
This is a book that bears re-reading; changing behaviour and firmly-held misconceptions is not an easy task. Mindfulness includes re-evaluating how our beliefs lend themselves to compassionate action, within our circle of family, friends, neighbours and the wider world.
OCTOBER BOOK REVIEW by the Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea
Something to perk your curiosity
SEASICK by Alanna Mitchell
This work by Canadian author is highly recommended by David Suzuki.
Alanna declares that we are in the last days of an ocean system.
The last best place on earth is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We need to be reading the vital signs: that point to the depletion of oxygen in the Gulf of Mexico and the decrease in pH and increase acidity of the ocean.
As far as scientists have been able to piece together, humans first settled by the sea only about 164,000 years ago. The evidence comes from a recent archaeological find in a cave at the Pinnacle Point on the South African cape filled with the remains of cooked shellfish.
We need to read the vital signs in metabolism of the plankton, the fecundity of the coral in Panama and reading the life force in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
We need to take a second look at the medical history and find evidence in Hainan China the place that will be the tipping point is the ecological challenge.
We need to forge ahead to read the signs that will take us down the path of adaptability in Zanzibar where the secrets of the sea converge. It is there we will find new hope.
There is a call for wisdom, truth lies in the tales we tell than in the scientific facts that give rise to them.
Mitchell concludes, “if you believe that this matters and that something can be done, then the rest of the story reads that the time to act is right now.