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God and the Art of Happiness Hardcover – December 3, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
John Witte Jr.
Across epochs, locations, languages, circumstances, cultures, and discourses, texts in both Testaments of Scripture agree that the maker of heaven and earth seeks creations flourishing. . . . Reverent devotion to the creator and redeemer of the world is the happy life, for it crafts one into an instrument of divine wisdom, love, and goodness. The various patterns of life that Scripture intends to draw the reader into drive toward one goal: organizing ourselves around life in God that we may enjoy ourselves as we are buoyed by the love, beauty, goodness, and wisdom of God, which hoist us aloft.
from chapter 12
Ellen Charry has the gift of making deep connections between theology and ordinary life. In happiness she has identified a wonderful theme through which to explore some of the heights and depths of human existence. She revels in her topic and constantly draws the reader into fruitful, wise reflection on important matters.
David F. Ford
University of Cambridge
A frequently voiced complaint today is that academic theology writes only for its own guilds and too often tumbles into an ugly and lazy jargon-ridden abstraction. In this subtle, nuanced book, born from both hope and personal anguish, Ellen Charry reconnects knowledge and healing, thereby responding to a deep need.
Iain R. Torrance
Princeton Theological Seminary
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Christian roots of the biblical concept of happiness hat arises out of the love of God for Man and Man for God. She calls this happiness Asherism, or the blessings that come from God. This much needed book will be a great resource for pastors and pastoral counselors offering comfort and encouragement to those who have suffered trauma and tragedy. Healing Hope for Bruised Souls
From the outset, Charry raises very valid points that 1.)Christians have underplayed temporal happiness in favor of eschatological happiness. We have sought treasures in heaven, forgetting that there may be treasures on earth as well, in other words, and 2.)theology in general, usually having to defend itself as being a legitimate scholarly discipline, has focused on systematization and logical rigor at the expense of practicality. In other words, if you pick up your average systematic theology, you're unlikely to find a section on "temporal happiness."
I couldn't agree more with these observations and rather enjoyed the first half of the book where Charry offers a short look at several Christian and psuedo-Christian thinkers and their thoughts on happiness. She has done well to identify this problem (although I suppose John Piper has been writing the same for 30 years). In the second half of the book, Charry seeks to fill this gap with "asherism", essentially laying out a doctrine of temporal happiness. Here the book flounders on nearly every level. It is philosophically shallow and theologically speaking, it accepts 5% of the Bible at the expense of the other 95%.
She says "Asherism teaches that happiness is an enjoyable obedient life. As Aquinas and Butler point out, this begins with being ourselves ...Happiness is an effect both of forms of self-love which Aquinas and Butler might agree are of a piece in living according to nature.Read more ›