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Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes Perfect Paperback – August 1, 2005


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Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes + Undistorted God: Reclaiming Faith Despite the Cultural Noise
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Upper Room (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083589813X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835898133
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,583,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda on February 10, 2007
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Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes by Ray Waddle caught my eye on the Upper Room website. Waddle's book bases each of his chapters on a chapter in Ecclesiastes that ties in both his personal experiences as they relate to this particular chapter and religious interpretations that he has studied over his lifetime. Waddle clearly believes that Ecclesiastes digresses from the majority of the Bible and takes a more practical approach to human experience and life while reminding us that humans are to enjoy life because it is so fleeting. One of the interesting things that I learned from this book is that the Bible has four books that are considered "wisdom literature"- Ecclesiastes, Job, Proverbs and Song of Solomon. This was something I'd never known and found very enlightening. As you read Ecclesiastes, you will find many verses with which you are familiar and I advise everyone to take an hour or so and read the entire book at one sitting. When you read the word "vanity" which is found 38 times in Ecclesiastes according to Waddle, please know that "the Hebrew word for vanity, hebel, is closer to vapor, wind, breath, something ephemeral and wispy, insubstantial, gone in a moment." (22) I believe that a one-sitting reading is the best way to reflect upon and enjoy this particular book of the Bible. After reading Ecclesiastes, please take a moment and read Against the Grain for a further discussion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reader on November 21, 2006
Format: Perfect Paperback
A very accessible book that explores one of the most controversial books in the Bible. Waddle writes in an unintimidating way, yet goes beyond the surface to explore the hidden depths of Ecclesiastes. Nicely broken up into verses, the book is easy to dip into. Makes a great gift, too.
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As usual Ray Waddle's interpretation of Ecclesiastes is thought provoking and insightful. He manages to write about the Bible without using Bibliospeak.
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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John F. Clark Jr. on November 9, 2005
Format: Perfect Paperback
Note: the author is a friend of mine.This is a wise reflection on an unconventional piece of 'wisdom literature'-namely the book of Ecclesiates, designed not to portray scholarly learning but to generate human insight into the difficult art of practical living.Trying to steer a clear path between impatience and nostalgia it considers the strangeness of Ecclesiates as it relates to the deeper conventional wisdom of the rest of the Bible as it relates to the 'duty to be happy'. The chapter on the hiddeness of God is in particular of interest as is a most important and, to my knowledge quite original, reflection upon the importance of maintaining a distinction between God the father and Jesus the human/divine son. Also under consideration is the issue of "eternity in Man's mind' and the importance of not devaluing the present-which is the only time in which we live. This is the second of Mr Waddle's books. The first was also on a book of the Bible, namely The Book of Psalms.I can't help but to wonder which book he might next seek to illuminate.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By michael wade on December 31, 2011
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Ray Waddle is a gifted writer and a passionate, sincere believer. He tries to be honest and upfront about his purposes in writing this book.

I've been a believer for over three decades, and only in the last few months have the pages of Ecclesiastes become truly alive to me; this is a precious and wonderful book once the reader is ready for what it has to say. I continue to find its wisdom simply astonishing. For example, one of the verses, paraphrased, says that every work man does is simply for self-promotion.

Waddle tells us right away what he believes his own motives are, and lists, among them the following: "I am a professional observer of the religion scene who thinks Ecclesiastes offers an antidote to the abuses of politicized religion and the deadly use of belief to promote terror, suffering and injustice." So, if these are questions you have then by all means, this may well be the book for you.

Against the Grain uses the word "i" an awful lot. It contains a lot of stories from his life, Waddle's opinions about them, and about what he thinks the author of Ecclesiastes would say in today's world, based of course on Waddle's worldview. This is pretty ironic when Ecclesiastes says up front that "there is nothing new under the sun," all of our labor is here today, gone tomorrow and that the need to stand on a soapbox is unnecessary at best, and foolish at worst.

Imagine two circles that only overlap a little. One circle is Ecclesiastes, the other the opinions expressed in "Against the Grain." Now, where they overlap, are they in agreement with each other? That's for you to decide should you wish to go further.
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