From Publishers Weekly
The practice of forgiveness is often one of the most difficult required of Christians in their everyday lives, mainly because it involves an admission of human weakness and requires an indulgence of the offense to be forgiven. In this biblically grounded study of the concept of forgiveness, Countryman, who teaches New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., offers a new look at forgiveness. Forgiveness, he contends, is not a duty but a conversion, a change of mind (metanoia) in order to see things through God's eyes instead of ours. Countryman writes, "Forgiveness... is the most generous of loves. It is God's best gift to us.... It is the spiritual river of life that carries the past along, washing it clean of its wrongs, into the as-yet uncertain future?a future that will culminate in the life of the age to come. By forgiving and being forgiven, we bring that life, our true citizenship, with us into the midst of this world." Countryman traces his reflections on forgiveness through chapters on repentance, unhealthy forms of forgiveness, refusal of forgiveness and justice. Countryman's lively style and his lucid insights into the nature of forgiveness make this a must read for clergy, laity and general readers.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Combining excellent theology, theory, and practical pastoral suggestions, Countryman explores the concept of forgiveness. Basing his work less on a step-by-step process and more on the concept of conversion, or change of perspective, the author helps readers understand what it means to know God's forgiveness first in their own lives and how that knowledge leads to forgiveness of ourselves and others. The writing is written in a conversational tone that will be appealing to laity and church study groups." -- ChurchNews
"In a world as fractious and broken as ours, this book is a much needed and welcome gift.When Countryman begins to unfold his text, one steps back with a deep sense of appreciation and admiration for how thoroughly comprehensive this little book is on this topic. This is a wonderful book." -- Sisters Today
"The joy of Forgiven and Forgiving is the way in which Countryman leads us to take the life and message of Jesus seriously--joyfully seriously!--by reminding us of what we knew all along, that God begins by creating something good and breathing life into it." -- Pacific Church News
... excellent theology, theory, and practical pastoral suggestions... biblically based with solid academic research behind the ideas... conversational tone... -- Church News, publication of the Diocese of West Texas
... fine book... sheds light on 'the gracious and generous project of redeeming the world through the spread of forgiveness.' -- Values and Visions
... pastoral theology at its best... benefical for... counseling and for any parish to use in an adult forum situation. -- Jeffrey Allen Mackey, Sewanne Theological Review
Biblically-based with sound academic research, yet written in a conversational style... valuable insights for clergy, laity, and church study groups. -- East Tennessee Episcopalian, March 1998
The author offers four ways to cultivate forgiveness, each of which is designed to avoid the denial, re-victimization, simplistic platitudes, and guilt so typical of much of the older literature on Christian forgiveness. Countryman presents a book which is both theologically and psychologically sound, the true meaning of pastoral theology. It is fortunate that the two fields are wed so well here. -- Anglican Theological Review
The joy... is the way... Countryman leads us to take the life and message of Jesus seriously-joyfully seriously! -- Pacific Church News