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What's in a Phrase?: Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Well-known biblical phrases -- "in the fullness of time," "fearfully and wonderfully made," "in the beauty of holiness," and others -- suggest and evoke and invite. In this book Marilyn Chandler McEntyre offers brief reflections on more than fifty such scriptural phrases that prompt readers to pay attention, to pause where we sense a beckoning. Some of these select phrases ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published April 20th 2014 by Eerdmans
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Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's writing. I loved her Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies many years ago and ordered this short volume on its heels.

This book is easy to lose track of, which you might notice by the dates begun and finished. It is another that lived in my bathroom for an occasional reading. And often languished out of sheer obliviousness, not out of lack of enjoyment.

McEntyre is writing her thoughts that are inspired based on her reading of scripture. They're often pithy and
Roy Howard
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book. I say that in the hope you will pause over the word lovely. Perhaps you will linger with the phrase in the hope. Marilyn McEntyre pays attention to words and in this book we can learn to do the same. This listening is done with the conviction that the Spirit meets us in the places where we are stopped and summoned by a word or phrase. Incline your ear becomes a doorway into a the nature of divine assurance; consider the poor is an invitation (or admonition) to consider our ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. The reflections were so rich, ones you could reread and glean new things. I'm rating it four stars simply because I disagreed with a couple points, but for the rest of it, she provides a well-written, thoughtful look into various phrases on Scripture. One thing the book did was it gave me a better glimpse into what Scripture meditation is, seeing the way she connected the verses with life experience and other books she had previously read. I want to read her book on Ver ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marilyn McEntyre is one of my favorite fellow pilgrims. I prefer her book Word by Word but this one was still quite good for short reflections.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A book to be savoured. Here's a brief review I wrote for the The Banner:

The Bible can trouble us, comfort us, and perplex us. Sometimes even just a few words can bring us to a stop. In What’s in a Phrase? Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre invites readers to join her in quietly and prayerfully contemplating passages that have caught her attention over the years. As McEntyre notes, hers is a book shaped by lectio divina, the ancient Benedictine prac
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a gift. I thought it was going to be a kind of Christian self-help pablum. Well, I was wrong. The author takes phrases from the Bible and essentially writes riffs on them. They are highly intelligent riffs. She is good enough to take a phrase that I have always loved and savored and make me listen to her spin on it. For example, I liked her chapter on Mark 10:21 a lot because she went outside the immediate moment of Jesus' encounter with the rich young man and extrapolated into the ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
AMAZING. I'm ready to start it over from the beginning. I cannot speak highly enough of how profound and beautiful - a rare combination - this book is. I'd like to add this book, though not its intention, helped me through a difficult chapter in my life. The world is a better place because books like this one exist.
Elizabeth Nordquist
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most helpful and nourishing books of spiritual depth I have read in a long time. Prompts my own spiritual practice.
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Marilyn Chandler McEntyre is a fellow of the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, and she teaches at UC Berkeley. Her other books include Drawn to the Light: Poems on Rembrandt's Religious Paintings, In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women, and Patient Poets: Illness from Inside Out.

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“For he will speak peace to his people. . . . psalm 85:8 Peace is a language. To “speak peace” is very different from speaking of peace. To speak of peace is to reason about it. But to speak peace is to impart it. The promise in this psalm is that God will make peace with us and among us. But the phrase also serves as a reminder that our words are acts. When we speak, we may stir up animosities, suspicions, jealousies, or old hurts — or we may impart peace. Peace may be “uttered” not only in gentleness of voice when we speak, but in the choice of words that reframe, redirect, or surprise us into reconsidering. Sometimes a way of describing the problem or conflict as an opportunity for invention or imagination or learning can enable those who are stuck in a point of view to see a new way.” 0 likes
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