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Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings About Love, Compassion and Forgiveness Paperback – October 4, 2005


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Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings About Love, Compassion and Forgiveness + What Are People For?: Essays + The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Shoemaker Hoard (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761004
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Thomas Jefferson famously culled from the Gospels to present Jesus the Enlightenment rationalist but, knowing that public Christians of the time wouldn't take it well, left the selection for posthumous publication. Berry aims his gospel sampler first at public Christians, and he publishes immediately because he has prophetic fish to fry. Wealthy and powerful Christians continue the age-old processes of warring for vengeance and self-interest, he says, despite what Jesus said about loving our neighbors--and our enemies--and forgiving one another. To make those sayings stand out, he gathers passages including the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the woman taken in adultery, and the hard teachings about coming "not to send peace, but a sword." After the selections, he discusses "The Burden of the Gospels," which is essentially the injunction to follow Christ and keep his commandments, and consequently to believe in the world's sanctity and the human duty of stewardship of creation. Berry restates an old message as beautifully as he has stated anything in his long, distinguished career. Ray Olson
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About the Author

Berrys themes are reflections of his life: friends, family, the farm, the nature around us as well as within. He speaks strongly for himself and sometimes for the lost heart of the country. As he has borne witness to the world for eight decades, what he offers us now in this new collection of poems is of incomparable value. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wendell Berry begins this little book on a Kierkegaardian note by asserting that Christianity in the U.S. has become so fashionable that it has "remarkably little to do with the things that Jesus Christ taught." In our cultural endorsement of war and economic/environmental practices that destroy creation--both fashionable expediencies--we betray, for the sake of national interests (the heresy, by the way, of phyletism), the Gospel. We thereby put outselves in "an absurdity" that we can "neither resolve nor escape: the proposition that war can be made to serve peace; that you can make friends for love by hating and killing the enemies of love."

Berry goes on to reflect on the "burden" (but blessing, too) of being a good enough Christian to avoid this absurdity. His analysis focuses on Christ's promise to bring "life abundant." As Berry interprets it, "abundant life" refers to all creation, not just one's personal existence, which has its being in and through God's creative spirit. To celebrate what God has made and graciously sustains, we need to adopt ways of living that nurture rather than destroy, that encourage peace rather than war, and that affirm rather life than death.

In between the introductory and closing essay in which Berry reflects on all this, he collects 123 New Testament verses that speak to Christ's Gospel of Peace and its promise of life abundant. Actually, I think he undersells the centrality of peacemaking in the New Testament: I'd add at least half again as many verses. But Berry's point is well-taken: one either takes scripture seriously, or one doesn't. What the Bible says is pretty clear, and it's not so easy to interpret away as many of us wish or believe.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Duncan on December 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Berry is a prophet somewhat in the mold of Amos from the Hebrew Bible, though a bit more disarming in his challenges. His selection of Jesus-sayings on peacemaking is intriguing for what it reveals both about what Jesus said and about Berry. The book is worth the price for the introduction and the essay, "The Burden of the Gospels," that are included. In the introduction, Berry indicts modern Christianity: "It seems to have remarkably little to do with the things that Jesus Christ actually taught." In the concluding essay, he suggests that a more honest reading of the Gospels could improve the modern practice of the Christian faith.

Anyone who seeks to take seriously the Gospels and the Jesus they present, should read the above referenced essay. It was first presented in August 2005 at the joint convocation of Lexington Theological Seminary and Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, two institutions that share space in Lexington, Kentucky. Berry's essay has an important word for all readers and interpreters of the Gospels--be they in the pew or in the pulpit.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Aaron J. Kunce on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are very, very few essential living authors. Berry has once again proven that he is among them. An absolutely inspirational work. Jefferson said: "the words of Jesus shine in this world like diamonds in a dung-hill".

Berry lifts these coruscating words and sayings -- and gently turns them so that their fiery truth is sometimes illuminating... and sometimes blinding. +Aaron K
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William F. Edwards on June 12, 2008
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This is a great summary of the teachings of Jesus. I highly recommend it for all Christians and anyone else who would like Jesus' teachings in a nutshell. My only complaint is the price for such a small book. And the price on the cover was less than the price charged by amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wileybones on October 10, 2013
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Having read quotes and essays by Berry for a number of years, this is the first time I've bought and read one of his books. As one who aspires to follow Jesus and to be a peacemaker, I was intrigued to get Berry's take on the matter. He doesn't waste any words, and goes straight to the point, and lays down the challenge we all would do well to consider: "Who is my neighbor?" He is another into whom Father has placed the breath of life, whether friend or foe. Indeed, we're to love not only our neighbors, but our enemies... Berry doesn't cut us any slack, but come to think of it, neither did Jesus!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joy H. Horne on June 1, 2013
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Very good for personal spiritual meditation and reflection on the essentials of the Christian's journey through life - I recommend this book.
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