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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Somewhere in the pages of this slim volume lurks the skeleton of a thoughtful and provocative book. The author, a retired Episcopal bishop, mixes autobiographical reflections with smatterings of paleontology, archeology, physics and biblical scholarship to make the case for a "global warming of the second kind," a renewal based on the principles of nonviolence and the unity of all life. While this poorly titled book does include a heated indictment of the current administration's policies in Iraq and elsewhere, Sims seems much more interested in making a case for a new social order. He is both chastened and hopeful about the possibility of environmental revitalization and world peace based on maturing human consciousness and feminist principles. The book is marred by periodic outbursts of tortured syntax and jargon. In his distress with environmental degradation and world events, Sims sometimes yields to the temptation to use epithets instead of ideas, as when he attacks "male-dominant fundamentalist sectors" of several world religions, examines the "dominator grip of the levers of control in America," and claims that the apostle Paul was converted from "Jewish rule-oriented rage." Readers sympathetic to Sims's alienation from the Bush administration and to his eclectic mix of religious philosophies may find encouragement and inspiration here. However, even they will have to be extremely persistent.
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Review

“… the book resounds with his awareness of a re-awakening spirit of justice and love, and a ‘maturity of humanity,’ emerging from eras of childhood self-identity and of adolescent violence.” –Patricia Nakamura, The Living Church, September 19, 2004

“This is a timely and courageous book. It should provoke much thought, prayer and discussion. Read it.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Laureate

“This is a passionate and persuasive book. Bennett Sims has woven together his career as an Episcopal theologian and bishop with his ethical and political concerns as an informed citizen of the United States. He examines issues underneath the political propaganda of the spin-doctors and presents a vision of what the country can be which judges what it is becoming. This book will not be popular in the present White House, but it will ring true with millions of Americans and people around the world will cheer that someone inside the USA sees what they see so clearly.” —John Shelby Spong, author of A New Christianity for a Better World

“Like the minor prophets before him, Bennett Sims has written a small book that packs a major wallop. His mix of religion and politics is as fresh as it is bold, but his critique of power goes well beyond reproof. Having witnessed the worst that people can do, Sims remains an apostle of hope. His practical vision of a peaceable planet is so compelling that only the terminally hard of heart can fail to respond.” —Barbara Brown Taylor, author of When God Is Silent

"At a time when national polls indicated that most citizens base their judgments concerning national policies on what they hear from the media rather than what they hear at church, this is a very important book. Bishop Sims makes very clear how our religious convictions must be the basis for our political choices, which are also clearly profound moral decisions. I hope this message is spread throughout the land." - Thomas J. Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit

"Bishop Sims believes in a politically committed spirituality. His message should be read and discussed in every church in the land at this critical time in the nation's history."- The Rev'd William Sloane Coffin

"…[T]he book by the retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta was a breath of fresh air. Instead of lambasting the president, as these books [Bushwacked, Dude, Where's My Country, et al.] proudly do, Sims lays out a reasoned, theologically sound argument against the kind of leadership the current administration practices, instead of attacking specific policies or the president's personal character." - www.whosoever.org (online Christian magazine), 5/5/04

“Readers sympathetic to Sim’s alienation from the Bush administration and to his eclectic mix of religious philosophies may find encouragement and inspiration here.” –Publisher’s Weekly, 6/1/04 (Publishers Weekly)

“…Sims makes an articulate plea for the American electorate to choose a leader who recognizes that power, political and otherwise, can only create conditions of peace and justice when it is based on the notion of service to others.” –Grace & Truth, 21.3, 2004

“Sim’s underlying effort—namely, to provide a faith-based argument against fundamentalism and therefore an alternative to Bush’s model of a faith-based politics—is an important one.” – BRIDGES Vol. 12 (Bridges)

“…Sims makes an articulate plea for the American electorate to choose a leader who recognizes that power, political and otherwise, can only create conditions of peace and justice when it is based on the notion of service to others.” –Grace & Truth, 21.3, 2004
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416377
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,352,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wm. Mars on September 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bishop Bennett J. Sims illuminates the notion of creation as God's Altruistic Gift. His ideas are akin to that of the Great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis.
Sims writes, "God in the revelation of Jesus is not a divine dominator, not a manipulator, and never a high-and-mighty self-serving subjugator. In the crystal image of Jesus as the face of God in history, the Ruler of the universe is supreme in the exercise of servant power."
Sims' hermeneutical approach to the Bible affirms that Biblical truth does not advocate the use of power for dominance, violence and injustice. "Self-righteous scorn of others" is self-defeating.
The Biblical notion of power is servitude (selfless-love).
Although "Why Bush Must Go" is sparse at times, it does serve as valid defense against Neocon methodologies.
"Concentrated wealth and weaponry... only repress fear with lavishly expensive symbols of insecurity... Apocalypse is a creed of hopelessness"

Peace,
Wm
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By William J. Everett on August 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bennett Sims is a retired Episcopal Bishop living in Hendersonville. The values and convictions that led him to found the Institute for Servant Leadership, now based in Asheville, have gained new and timely expression in a book with the provocative title, Why Bush Must Go: A Bishop's Faith-based Challenge (Continuum Books). For Sims the struggle of our time is between systems of power based on competitive domination and those based on collaborative partnership. The first, rooted primarily in male-engendered violence and fear, underlies both the disposition to use military and coercive solutions to political problems and the end-of-the-world fundamentalism it appeals to. The second approach, based in the Gold Rule ethics of Jesus and all the great world religions, is emerging in commitments to collaboration, partnership, mutuality, environmental conservation and servant leadership in business, public life, and commissions for national reconciliation. The way of mutuality and interdependence, both among human beings and in the entire natural order, is built into our deepest instincts and must prevail if the planet and its human experiment are to survive and flourish. Because Bishop Sims sees the Bush administration as rooted in the politics of domination and fear, he has stepped forward to call for its replacement.

He develops his argument by reviewing his own career as pastor, teacher, and bishop. In his involvement in the civil rights movement he was awakened to the power of non-violence. In his life as Bishop of Atlanta he moved from an early rejection of the equal rights of homosexual persons to championing their equality and full participation.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Shanks on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I encountered this book while browsing the shelves of the Harvard Bookstore (where it was prominently displayed) as I took a little down time during a hectic business trip. Though I initially resisted the book because the title suggested a rhetoric that I didn't have the energy to engage, the author is one I respect as his book "Servanthood" had a positive influence in my formation for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. It is my understanding that Bishop Sims and his publisher had some disagreements about the published title, which doesn't accurately reflect the contents. This is a wonderful book that systematically details our responsiblities to those we are appointed to serve. I am encourging my friends to purchase the book themselves, and for those whose means won't permit that I have purchased several extra copies to hand out, as needed. Thanks be to God for a loving and prophetic voice.
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Format: Paperback
Don't let the title of this book lure you into thinking it's about George W. Bush. The territory the distinguished Bishop Bennett J. Sims covers here is wide as the world and deep as the ocean. The careful reader will find much here to savor. The elegant yet lucid prose shows forth an astounding, wide-reaching intellect, a deep, well-thought out, hard-won, and carefully articulated faith.

From page 81: "Fundamentalism is not without redeeming qualities. The seriousness with which fundamentalism makes God a living reality in individual and family life is greatly to its credit. But, to their discredit, most fundamentalist leaders ignore the prophetic social dimensions of the biblical record and the ministry of Jesus, whose emblem before the world is a Cross of total commitment to nonviolence as the way of humanity's deliverance from the long scourge of war. Thus fundamentalism can never serve the world's longing for peace."
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