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Hells Abyss, Heavens Grace: War and Christian Spirituality Paperback – February 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561012416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561012411
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,879,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Hell’s Abyss, Heaven’s Grace embraces the weapons of truth, courage and faith as paramount virtues in keeping with God’s law. Highly recommended. (Michael Dunford Midwest Book Review)

This is a moving call to examine nonviolent resistance and should be read by Christian leaders, educators, and opinion makers. It is a book destined to leave an impact on the readers of this generation and generations to come. (Richard R. Blake Reader Views)

We desperately need a spirituality to lead us beyond the warlike mind, and only an authentic spirituality will do the job. Religion, up to now, has largely failed. Fr. Lawrence Hart offers you a very readable but believable spirituality of peacemaking. This will console your heart and challenge your mind at the same time. (Richard Rohr Center for Action and Contemplation)

Of all the books I have read on nonviolence and on Christian spirituality, I don’t know of any that penetrates so deeply and clearly to the heart of both. This would be enough for any one book, but then Hart goes a step further: He prophetically critiques U.S. empire and exposes the violence that lies behind this country’s many justifications for war. This is a book for anyone who wishes to love as Jesus loved and is not afraid to contemplate the political implications of that kind of love. (Sheri Hostetler, pastor of First Mennonite Church of San Francisco)

About the Author

Lawrence D. Hart is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and pastoral counselor. Before becoming a priest he served as a Mennonite pastor in the San Francisco Bay area and rural South Dakota. He is the author of Alleluia Is the Song of the Desert (Cowley). He and his wife, Brenda, live a quiet life in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Written by an Episcopal priest, Hell's Abyss Heaven's Grace: War and Christian Spirituality is a strident call to the power of nonviolent resistance, rather than war, to change the world. Scrutinizing "Just War" theory as well as America's tainted history of war, conquest, international theft and exploitation, Hell's Abyss Heaven's Grace calls upon the need Christians have to live in accordance with the Gospel. Looking to images of Christian leaders around the world who apply nonviolence methods to resist, Hell's Abyss Heaven's Grace embraces the weapons of truth, courage and faith as paramount virtues in keeping with God's law. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chaplain T on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had so much hope for this book, based primarily on the subtitle. However, I didn't have to read too many pages to realize that I had been deceived. This focus of this book has far more to with criticizing President Bush and American war policies than it has to do with any type of Christian Spirituality. Additionally, it smacks far too much of leftist politics. This is borne out by the fact that there are nearly as many references to Noam Chomsky as there are to Jesus Christ. I am certainly no fan of the current administration or of America's abuse of military and political power, but few are. This tired criticism that encompasses nearly half the book is not helpful for anyone struggling with the real issues of faith and violence.
All that aside, what I really find disturbing is the author's implicit rhetoric which discounts the Christian faith of anyone who disagrees with or doesn't quite measure up to his pacifist views. He makes that statement that Lao Tsu (often called the Father of Taoism) showed himself to be more Christian than many professed Christians (p86). He bases this assessment not on Lao Tsu's profession of faith in Christ (which he did not make), but on a short statement on weapons, killing and victory in battle. By this assessment, it's how you feel about the tragedies of war, above all else, that makes one Christian. How is this helpful for anyone who is struggling with the real issues of what it means to follow Jesus Christ?
It was my hope that this book would look at the historical (rather than the contemporary American) aspects of war and how genuine Christians have struggled with this issue over the last 20 centuries. Instead, this book turns out to be nothing more than a rehash of the same liberal pacifist dogma that has been around for decades.
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Format: Paperback
I recently met the author Lawrence Hart at the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship annual conference in Canterbury (July 2008).
Having had the opportunity to listen to one of his lectures, and talk with him over the conference, I was impressed enough to buy his book (through Amazon.com).

As I am British (living in the UK), my concern was would this book have such a heavy US bias, that it would not be of any interest to the UK reader.

While Lawrence does use the Iraq war as a case study, and he does indeed criticise the US government, he does make a number of valid points that would be of interest to readers whatever their nationality.

As someone who is a Lay Reader in the Church of England (I lead worship, preach and teach the Word of God), Lawrence not only writes from a spiritual dimension, but he does so in a way that keeps the readers interest alive (some books on spirituality are so boring, that you pray for them to end).

My opinion, is that this book should be required reading for all those who study Christianity, particularly those who are involved in the ministry of the Word of God

David Ramanauskas

[...] Pacifist.com
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Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/06)

In "Hell's Abyss, Heavens Gate" Lawrence Hart focuses on the theme of war and Christian spirituality. His purpose is to show that when faced with a choice, there is only one for the Christian, the way of peace. He goes on to examine the holy or just war within the context of American history. He uses the current war in Iraq as a case study. He then explores the conscience of a Christian pacifist.

Hart discloses the workings behind the scenes that have influenced our involvement in Iraq. He forcefully questions the motives of U. S. business interests and their impact on the political decisions made during the Korean Conflict, the war in Viet Nam, and now the action in Iraq.

Hart draws heavily from other writers using their works to reinforce his conclusions. He has credited their works and has provided extensive notes for each chapter. I personally appreciated Hart's broad base of sources as a resource list for future reading.

During my high school years I was too young to be drafted but as I turned 18 and registered for the draft, I listened to friends who talked about becoming "conscientious objectors". I thought I would be doing the patriotic thing by serving my country in the service. In the year 1951 about to be drafted during the Korean conflict, I selfishly, was looking out for my own safety. Rather than waiting for the imminent draft call and the risk of being sent to the front lines in the army infantry, I joined the Navy. I was never assigned combat duty while in the Navy. I don't think I ever considered what I would do if confronted with killing an enemy.

I am now faced with a new sense of compassion that calls for a life of reconciliation, justice, and peace.
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