This is one the most inspiring and hope-filled memoirs I have read in a long while. I am in awe of Father Gregory's tenacious compassion and his outre...moreThis is one the most inspiring and hope-filled memoirs I have read in a long while. I am in awe of Father Gregory's tenacious compassion and his outreach through Homeboy Industries to the most calloused and forsaken gang members of LA. This is the real deal; love, acceptance, and a mission of hope that doesn't retreat in the face of violence, hatred, and tremendous sorrow and loss. The stories he recounts are filled with insights about our common human condition. He makes no distinction between"us" and "them", but proposes instead "kinship---not serving the other, but being one with the other". One of many passages I highlighted: "Close both eyes; see with the other one. Then, we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened, and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly in a new expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love." How wonderful!
Other passages I loved:
"Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness."
"Leon Deufour, a world renowned Jesuit theologian and Scripture scholar, a year before he died at ninety-nine, confided in a Jesuit who was caring for him, 'I have written so many books on God, but after all that, what do I really know? I think, in the end, God is the person you're talking to, the one right in front of you.'"
"It is an essential tenet of Buddhism that we can begin to change the world by first changing how we look at the world."
This ia a great primer to read if you have never read the novel. Philbrick has read Moby Dick twelve times and says he gains fresh insights with each...moreThis ia a great primer to read if you have never read the novel. Philbrick has read Moby Dick twelve times and says he gains fresh insights with each reading. He touches on the major themes, the richness of the characters and gives glimpses of Melville's stunning prose. It was interesting to learn of the intimate friendship between Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne and how they infuenced each other's writing.(less)
This was my first encounter with Charles Taylor. Extraordinary mind. Reading this pushed me to the limits of my understanding, as most books on philos...moreThis was my first encounter with Charles Taylor. Extraordinary mind. Reading this pushed me to the limits of my understanding, as most books on philosophy do. I could almost feel new neural synapses forming in my brain! :) I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on the transformational shift in literature and art at the end of the eighteenth century from mimesis (imitation) to creation. Taylor writes, "Where formerly poetic language could rely on certain publicly available orders of meaning, it now has to consist in a language of articulated sensibility." This reflects what has happened in modern societies. "Individualism also names what many people consider the the finest achievement of modern civilization. We live in a world where people have a right to choose for themselves their own pattern of life, to decide in conscience what convictions to espouse, to determine the shape of their lives in a whole host of ways that their ancestors couldn't control." Taylor goes on to speak of the tension and ambivalence caused by the discrediting of the "hierarchical order in the universe and human society." He essentially asks the question of how do we grapple with this new way of being in our individual lives and in our political and social connections. Taylor offers a measured and thoughtful outlook on the important questions of modernity. (less)
Pretty informative book about the false, unmitigated controversy over evolution. The bottom line, as explained in this collection of essays, is that c...morePretty informative book about the false, unmitigated controversy over evolution. The bottom line, as explained in this collection of essays, is that creation science /intelligent design proposals haven't produced a shred of evidence to be considered valid science. Proponents of ID are essentially promoting a "dumbed down" science curriculum with a religious agenda. As Bill Nye the Science Guy says in his endorsement of the book, "The future of our species probably depends on science education and our understanding of the natural world. If you're concerned about science literacy, read this book."
The last few chapters bogged down with repetition for me, but overall I found the book informative and a well stated critique of the ideology of Intelligent Design. (less)
I devoured this in two days. The final essay The Indispensable Opposition by Walter Lippman was outstanding. Lippman writes, "For, while the right to...moreI devoured this in two days. The final essay The Indispensable Opposition by Walter Lippman was outstanding. Lippman writes, "For, while the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes the right important......What matters is not the utterance of opinions. What matters is the confrontation of opinions in debate." This collection of essays was a fine example of this kind of substantive exchange of ideas regarding religion, freedom of conscience and feminism. (less)
Every spare moment I have lately has been spent reading this fascinating book. Summer for the Gods offers an engaging, thought provoking and evenhande...moreEvery spare moment I have lately has been spent reading this fascinating book. Summer for the Gods offers an engaging, thought provoking and evenhanded historical account of the intersection of religion, science, law and politics in America.
Larson provides a front row seat at this pivotal case, delving deep into the divergent worldviews that caused a cultural and political fissure that remains to this day. Majoritarian rule, individual liberty, academic freedom, and the separation of church and state all merged together in the Scopes Trial. This was a fascinating book which enriched my historical understanding of the ongoing battle between religious and naturalistic worldviews. (less)
"....Insights can be prepared for by encouraging an imagination playful to the point of recklessness along with a sort of experimental fervor that fol...more"....Insights can be prepared for by encouraging an imagination playful to the point of recklessness along with a sort of experimental fervor that follows hypothesis out as if it were truth---but lets it go once revealed as error. It also helps to cultivate a healthy distrust of authority, and a restless, ranging curiosity----not so much an anarchic spirit as the flexible feel for law that tricksters (in the tradition of Odysseus) have." Robert and Ellen Kaplan
"Can people be taught to become oustanding thinkers? Most of us...are potentially capable of outstanding thinking. Not many of us, however, are prepared for it. We have not been trained for it, we are intimidated by it, and sometimes we are not even aware that it is an option."
This books offers to help you prepare to become an outstanding thinker. If you are frustrated by your own lack of deep thinking skills (that would be an emphatic YES! for me), Forni's lays out numerous pratical suggestions to develop critical and creative thinking. Each chapter ends with a handful of questions and helpful suggestions to jumpstart your way to EUREKA! thinking.
A few examples:
"Ask "Why?" And when you have your answer, address it with another "Why?" See where continuing to ask "Why" leads you."
"Fill your pockets with written questions and observations of all kinds collected during the day. Empty them every night, and every few days sort out your notes. Chances are you will find interesting connections among them. This may lead you to insight."
"Keep your curiosity and enthusiam alive and healthy. Accept that complexity of the world may not yield answers as promptly as you would like. As Gary A. Davis observed, 'Because most ideas evolve through a series of modifications, approximations, and improvements, creators must cope with uncertainty.'"
"Remember that even a small reallocation of time from the pursuit of the digital trivial to the pursuit of outstanding thinking could have momentous repercussions on the quality of your life."
I wholeheartedly agree with Forni's thoughts on how extraordinary the results would be from making outstanding thinking a school subject. We are certainly a far cry from that now in our public schools with the focus on rote memorization.
As Henry James wrote, "To live in the world of creation---to get into it and stay in it---to frequent it and haunt it--to think intensely and fruitfully---to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation---this is the only thing...." (less)