ORBIS OFFERINGS FOR AUGUST 2018
John and Mary Moritz are members of the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Chapter as well as Regional Coordinators for the Southeast Region. John is an avid reader (particularly of Orbis Books) and periodically provides this review of books from Orbis. (Bob Short)
- Beyond Original Sin - Diarmuid O’Murchu
Is not an original thought, but continues and develops theological systems that link back to popular theologians from the 1980’s like Matthew Fox and the concept of original blessing. His developments focus on the economic and political world that we live in as a consequence of the process of land acquisition and distribution beginning with the agricultural revolution about 10,000 BCE when we began to settle from being hunter-gatherers to farming as a staple of food source. The author enumerates seven strategic alternatives to his list of those things that have corrupted or coopted human creativity. I am forced to wonder after reading them what would really push him into saying something positive. Like so many of us, he lives in the benefit of those things that he would decry. I would place this offering along with its author in the category of prophetic witness of the half empty variety who has yet to discover an adequate means of being filled.
- Sermons on the Parables - Howard Thurman
This is a book that is best consumed in small quantities. The book is a compilation of, as the title suggests, sermons delivered by this very talented and soul filled preacher. While they have a distinct style of the period in which they were presented (the 1950’s) these reflections evoke both self-examination and experience of the presence of God, expressed in the life and message of Jesus. His writing quickly moves the reader from the religion of the center to the quite dangerous Gospel of the periphery. This is a book that I plan to put on my bookshelf and pull out again for Lent.
- “The Compassion Connection” Recovering Our Original Oneness - Catherine T Nerney
A sister of Saint Joseph, the author uses anecdote and story to vividly portray the deep spirituality and theological insight of one who has lived as well as studied the Christian message. What I like most about this book, was the facility with which she was able to move from Karl Rahner to Oscar Romero, from Pema Chodron to John of the Cross. Her considerations about Eucharist are well worth our time and attention. It seems to me, that this is a person who has well integrated the best of our tradition with an engaging zest for the world she inhabits.
- “Rejoice and Be Glad” On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World (Gaudete et Exultate) - Pope Francis
This is the apostolic Exhortation on the universal call to holiness that is worth purchasing for the introduction by Orbis Editor Robert Ellsberg. At a time when we all feel the pain of discord within our Church, this is a read that will say “Yes” to those so ready to be the voice of no. We all want to rejoice and be glad, Pope Francis reminds of why this is our mission call.
- “Refuge In Hell” Finding God in Sing Sing - Ronald D. Lemmert
Written by the long-time chaplain of the Sing Sing prison near Maryknoll, NY, tells the stories of his “parish” life. Stories of joy and pain, describe humanity at its worst and best. Within the broken criminal justice system, Fr. Lemmert portrays a picture of hope born of forgiveness, reconciliation and liberation from the hell of addiction, and violence. This “parish” gives flesh to Pope Francis’ description of “field hospital” as the paradigm for our communities.
- “Asian Christianities” History, Theology, Practice - Peter C. Phan
This book is the compilation of lectures given by the author at the University of Birmingham, UK. A serious scholarly endeavor, Phan nevertheless, injects this work with his personal life experience as a Vietnamese immigrant to the U.S. For those who have not spent a lot of time investigating Asian spirituality and religion, this book gives a broad introduction to a world that is completely foreign to American attitudes and values. When I read this author, I begin to have some concept of what we Affiliates refer to as the pillar of global awareness.