The fictional memoirs of John Ames, a congregationalist minister living in Gilead, Iowa round the mid 1950's near the end of his life, written to his...moreThe fictional memoirs of John Ames, a congregationalist minister living in Gilead, Iowa round the mid 1950's near the end of his life, written to his seven year old son to be read when he is older. There are no chapters, only page breaks and lines, the ongoing monologue winds and flips from one memory to the next and encompasses nearly two centuries of American history as he recounts stories learned from his father, a pacifist, and grandfather who was an abolitionist during the civil war, all were preachers. Much of the writing concerns the wayward son of Ames' lifelong best friend Boughton, his namesake, John Ames Boughton, whom he refers to as Jack or young Boughton and who has been an embarrasment and a disappointment to all. As it revolves around these relationships, it's a book about rural life, families, fathers and son in particular, generations, forgiveness, and human existence itself. (less)
Whether you are Anglo-Saxo-Irish-Scots-English or not, you can appreciate the work of the Celt monasteries in preserving the great literature of Weste...moreWhether you are Anglo-Saxo-Irish-Scots-English or not, you can appreciate the work of the Celt monasteries in preserving the great literature of Western Civilization from the fires of barbarian hordes during the dark ages.
The only objectionable thing is that the book is mis-titled, it is more accurate to say that the Christian faith delivered to the Celts by St. Patrick is what saved Western Civilization. If it were not for the interest in reading the Good Book that sprang up amongst the savages of Ireland as St. Patrick preached the gospel to them there would have been no interest in other good books. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what turned them from fiendish warrios into peaceful and bookish monks who out of a love for the Word incarnate became lovers of words and were compelled to spend their lives accumulating great works of literature and making beautiful copies in the form of intricately designed codexes. Ultimately, we do not have Ireland to thank for the legacy, we have to thank Jesus Christ, a fact which I think the Irish monks who did this work with their own hands would readily admit.
Despite the title, Thomas Cahill gets the point across and writes a beautifully detailed account of how Western literature was redeemed during a time when it could have been extinguished. Who knows what world history might have looked like without it? Per haps there would have been no Reformation, no Renaissance, no Enlightenment? Compare the work of these humble monasteries to the biblical Esther, whose sole words and actions in the presence of the Persian King were used by God to save Israel from extermination. This book provides yet another picture of how God providentially works among the nations to bring salvation to the world.(less)
The "labryinth" and the "abyss" are key words in Bouwsma's portrait of Calvin here, Bouwsma paints Calvin as a man full of the terror of God, yet also...moreThe "labryinth" and the "abyss" are key words in Bouwsma's portrait of Calvin here, Bouwsma paints Calvin as a man full of the terror of God, yet also full of the love of God. A most enjoyable read on a one of the most influential minds in western civilization.(less)
A concise summary and introduction to early church history, I read it in tandem with Bruce Shelley's book "Church History in Plain Language" and you c...moreA concise summary and introduction to early church history, I read it in tandem with Bruce Shelley's book "Church History in Plain Language" and you can tell Shelley drew a fair amount from Chadwick but adds some modern day applications and is far more brief in his descriptions than Chadwick, sometimes leaving things out that Chadwick fills in nicely. It was good to work through it with pen in hand to record thoughts and interact with the text. Chadwick's book was a good appetizer which prepared me to sink my teeth reading some of the original patristic works.(less)