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Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity Paperback – January 3, 2012
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Brian Zahnd is blunt, bold, and biblical—an authentic prophetic voice in the lineage of Elijah and Amos." —Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus, Regent College, and Translator of The Message
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Well, to start with, his development of the basic thesis is more with applications than illustrations. Yes, the way of Jesus is far more beautiful, more appealing to the heart, than violence or strict justice. Yes, the Beatitudes challenge us to see the appeal of vulnerable caring. But to my mind those do not develop the asserted mechanism, and show how it works. Rather, they apply it to a series of contrasts between the two ways, more to illustrate the contrast than to illuminate how beauty saves.
Zahnd begins with Dostoyevsky's assertion that beauty will save the world, and argues, correctly in my view, that we have neglected this aspect of the appeal of Godliness in our Enlightenment-saturated world.
Politics has been compared to sausage-making in its unappealing grubbiness, and yes, the closer one looks, the less inspiring it is. But when Zahnd gets to the case of Hitchens' closer look at Mother Theresa, he drifts past with a shallow dismissal, rather than engaging the challenging issues raised.
I fear the book as a whole left me with that feeling: good insights, published before really thinking them through. Sermon depth, and a memorable, even pivotal sermon at that, but not really book depth.
the book, "The beauty of co-suffering love as defined by the Beatitudes and demonstrated by the cross."
Masterfully written with living ink.
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Be the world.