- File Size: 6341 KB
- Print Length: 593 pages
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- Publisher: Zondervan (November 23, 2010)
- Publication Date: November 23, 2010
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003V4B574
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Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is an associate minister at St. Johns Baptist Church. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, Jonathan is engaged in reconciliation efforts in Durham, North Carolina, directs the School for Conversion (newmonasticism.org), and is a sought-after speaker and author of several books. The Rutba House, where Jonathan lives with his wife, Leah, their son, JaiMichael, daughter, Nora Ann, and other friends, is a new monastic community that prays, eats, and lives together, welcoming neighbors and homeless. Find out more at jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com.
Enuma Okoro was born in the United States and raised in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and England. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School where she served as Director for the Center for Theological Writing. Currently, she is a writer, speaker, and workshop/retreat leader. The author of Reluctant Pilgrim, Enuma lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. http://reluctantpilgrim.wordpress.com. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Kindle version can be a little unweildy so making bookmarks for morning, noon, and evening sections will make it a little quicker to get around.
I am a Franciscan brother and several other brothers in our order say they also use this book and like it.
As other reviewers have noted (somewhat angrily) this book is not The Book of Common Prayer. Anyone who has read the product description, though, is already aware of this. It has many characteristics of The Book of Common Prayer though. There are outlines for Evening and Noonday prayer, but rather than having a simple rubric for Morning Prayer the book is filled with individual devotionals for each day of the year. So, for those who are familiar with both the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and those evangelical devotionals with a thought/meditation/prayer/reading/all-or-some-of-the-above, it might be helpful to think of this as something in between.
Perhaps it is not fair of me to write this review as I have certainly not read the entirety of the book (and I probably won't be done until a year from now--that's how the book works), but I will do my best to provide a review of what I have read of it.
The introduction is pretty good. It won't provide the depth of history behind liturgy that people who have already fallen in love with, studied, and practice liturgy would like. It is exactly what it claims to be--an introduction and nothing more. It seems that the intended audience is more those that are unfamiliar with liturgy than those who are familiar with it. It is what you would expect from the New Monastics in its critical attitude toward government and the idea of serving the Kingdom of God being mutually exclusive of serving the nations of this world. The point of being ecumenical is stressed over and over. It doesn't give a very complete history of liturgical prayer. Rather it just stresses that liturgy is a big part of the church's history. As the unhappy Anglican/Episcopal reviewers have mentioned, Thomas Cranmer is not even mentioned.
The Morning Prayers are pretty sweet. For those of you who are used to a tradition that uses liturgy, you'll either feel comfortable because of the way it seems sort of like what you use or you'll feel a bit uneasy about how it seems almost like it but not quite. I swung back and forth between those feelings reading the first nine days of morning prayers to get caught up. Aside from the liturgical aspect, the stories and quotes inserted about saints/heroes of Christianity are awesome. Great short little stories about amazing people. I really like this about this book.
One criticism I have about the liturgy in this book is that there's no reference made to where the material came from. I recognize a lot of it from my beloved Book of Common Prayer and a lot is straight out of the Bible, while other bits sound vaguely familiar. I've been to a lot of different kinds of churches and read a lot of liturgy, but I'm no expert so I can't pinpoint where it all came from. I wish there were a bunch of footnotes saying where all the material came from. That would be helpful in understanding what we're saying. Also, it's kind of difficult to appreciate another culture/tradition/time period's contribution when it's not even given credit. These people have clearly mined through so much material; I just wish I could have a map of where they've gone to get all of this.
The Occasional Prayers section is pretty helpful. A lot of these are comparable to some of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer with a few notable ones that have no parallel prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. Two that really stood out to me are A Litany to Honor Women and Death of Someone Killed in the Neighborhood. I specifically like these two because these are things I've actually tried to pray about and felt unable to find the words. Scripted prayers provide words to pray when you don't know how to put words to your thoughts and feelings.
In conclusion, I wish this book were more thoroughly annotated to provide a richer understanding of where the prayers come from, but aside from that I'm really liking it. As far as the criticism made by a couple of my disgruntled fellow Anglicans that it's not The Book of Common Prayer, they're absolutely right, so if you're looking for that just buy that. It's a pretty sweet book too. It's definitely got the leanings of the New Monastics. It's got their subversive pacifist fingerprints all over it (and I like that). It's different from any prayer book you've seen and hopefully will make everyone feel a little bit welcome and a little bit displaced, which is good because we've got a lot to learn from trying out other folks' ways of doing things.
I'm sure I'll find more I like and dislike about it as the year goes on and this review is certainly not my final take on it, but hopefully some of you can benefit from my thoughts from the first few readings.
Grace and Peace to all of you.
Overall the authors did a great job.
Top international reviews
I am sorry though that, as witnessed by some of the tags that some have added for this book, (which are totally unwarranted, suggesting that this book is heretical and representing a false Christianity), some very strongly disagree. These tags are very mistaken and misleading. On the other hand they may lead some to take more of an interest in this book instead and benefit from what they find !
I understand though, that some are unfortunately objecting to this book and getting very hot under the collar because they see the title, "Common Prayer" and see it as somehow trying to usurp the position of the Anglican "Book of Common Prayer", often shortened to "Common Prayer". I am quite sure that the authors of this book never had the slightest intentions of doing this. In fact, if only those who get upset will note, the full title of this book is, "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals", their objections ought to be, at least to some extent, resolved.
Just as the original "Book of Common Prayer" formed a more concise version of previous ecumenical liturgies for the people of the time, which its successors still do, I believe that "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals" does a similar job for our time. I cannot speak for the authors of this book, but it looks to me as if they had the intention of actually honouring the original "Book of Common Prayer" in using its shortened name as part of the title of this book. As such, and as I have already said, I am sure that they did not have any intention of trying to propose this book as a replacement.
Those with experience of the Liturgy of the Hours and similar forms for daily prayer, will recognise this as a very valid and useful resource for prayer and reflection. It includes elements from a number of different Christian traditions and so can be very useful towards helping Christians of all denominations feel at home and to come together in prayer.
A small criticism of this book might be in the way that it separates the material for morning prayer from evening prayer. At the same time, bearing in mind that morning prayer is more or less the same for each day of the week, and evening prayer has material for each day of the Christian year, I can see that, in the end, it makes sense. On the other hand, those wanting to bring more variety into their morning could easily make use of the seasonal material as well. It is worth noting here that some liturgical books can be even more difficult for newcomers to find their way around, so this one is very easy by comparison).
For those wishing that this book included Night Prayer, as I did, on first looking at it, it is worth noting that, as with the "Book of Common Prayer", Evening and Night Prayer have been combined into one service. If anyone wanted to keep to a separate Night Prayer, they could quite easily simply omit the Nunc Dimittis - The Canticle of Simeon from Evening Prayer and adapt the form for Evening Prayer, including the Nunc Dimittis and perhaps some other suitable prayers for Night Prayer. I note though, that the forthcoming shortened Pocket Version Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals will include a separate form of Night Prayer, as well as other material not included in this full edition, as mentioned in an email the publishers have sent to me, as follows:-
"Common Prayer Pocket Edition helps individuals and today's diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. With an ear to the particulars of various liturgical prayer traditions, and using an advisory team of liturgy experts, the authors have created a tapestry of prayer that celebrates the best of each tradition. This convenient and portable book also includes tools for prayer scattered throughout to aid those unfamiliar with liturgy and deepen the prayer life of those already familiar with liturgical prayer".
"Common Prayer Pocket Edition adds new prayers for Compline (late evening) and for individual use, such as prayers for travel, protection, and various blessings. It includes a table of days and readings for the morning prayers as well as an annotated list of saints and days to remember".
I have the Pocket Edition on pre-order already, because as well as supplementing the big book, it will evidently be very useful for traveling as well.
As one who mainly uses other forms of the Liturgy of the Hours, I find this book provides good additional and alternative material to help me in my prayer life. I also believe that this book will be helpful for those who would find the more formal church books of prayer less attractive. Likewise those who might want to begin with something that is easier to use, even if they may later on want to make use of the formal denominational ones, such as used by Anglicans, Lutherans or Roman Catholics etc.
Oh yes! I nearly forgot to mention, as well as providing the words of hymns and songs, the music and chords are also helpfully provided. As a saying goes, "Those who sing, pray twice". A lot of careful thought and artistry has gone into the production of this book and I recommend it.
A must for all who are thinking about daily worship even if you are not familiar with liturgy.
I bought this digital copy as a back up for my hardback copy which was a bit too hefty to take away on holiday. Now I find I use it just as much ikn everyday life- on my lunch break, on the bus, in the park.
offer with the fruits of the New Monastic movement, this large but easy to use volume provides
food for the individual and for groups for every day of the year. It makes liturgy come alive
and sets it all in the context of profound commentaries on the phases of the Christian Year.
And if that wasn't enough, it includes a selection of hymns and songs with scores and chords!
a really helpful book
I like the fact that every day of the week has a slightly different liturgy, complete with a short story or thought to think about. I also like the fact that there is a hymn that you can sing and the words and the music for the hymn are found in the back of the prayerbook.
I like the prayerbook so much that I purchased a Kindle version to supplement the hardback.