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Only Human: Christian Reflections on the Journey Toward Wholeness Paperback – September 5, 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the first in a prospective series on the enduring questions in Christian life, ethicist and Baptist pastor Gushee, writing intelligently and lucidly, wonders how it is possible that both Mother Teresa and Hitler can be human beings. Because there is such huge disparity in the actions of humans, he says, it begs certain questions. Just what is human nature? Is there even such a thing as human nature, and what role does it play? Beginning with these fundamental concerns, he proceeds to tackle additional questions: Is it true that human beings are intrinsically sinful? How do we become morally good or, for that matter, morally evil? While adhering principally to a Christian perspective, Gushee draws wisdom from a variety of sources, from the Old and New Testaments to modern psychology, from Aristotle to the Catholic catechism, to create what amounts to a set of unambiguous and cogent instructions on how to live a morally good life. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Only Human is an apt title for this lovely book. Gushee offers humble wisdom for understanding a human yearning for God. He helps to discern recurrent questions, such as, ‘Does sin have the last word?’ and ‘Will God give up on us?’ But he also introduces what may be new questions, such as ‘What does the Trinity mean for my relationships?’ Weaving together his own reflections as a servant, dad, and husband, drawing from scripture as well as from lively narratives of recent saints and sinners, Gushee has given the seeking reader a true gift.”-- Amy Laura, assistant professor, theological ethics, Duke Divinity School

“This is an inviting volume that kicks off an exciting series. David Gushee writes of our life journeys in the style of C.S. Lewis.  Deeply biblical, profoundly human, and delightfully written, he guides us through perplexing issues to show how faith reveals possibilities of personal growth and sound relationships.  This volume does not deal deeply with social ethics, and some passing judgments in this area may need revision, but what he offers is a model of clarity and insight.”-- Max Stackhouse, The Rimmer and Ruth DeVries Professor of Theology and Public Life, Princeton Theological Seminary


“Written in an accessible and fluent style, Only Human brings a broad range of material from across the Christian tradition to bear on an intriguing range of essential questions about what it means to be human¾on the contrary, perplexing, sinful, joyful, and spiritual aspects that we ponder and that vex us. In illuminating this exploration with his own and others' stories, Gushee focuses his discussion in a sprightly way that draws the

reader in and helps him or her to appreciate the enduring reasons for hope within that sturdy faith tradition that is Christianity.”--Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago and author, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World



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Product Details

  • Series: Enduring Questions in Christian Life (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787964158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787964153
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,980,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By William Donnell on November 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is for people who have more questions than answers - which is pretty much all of us. Gushee does a great job of taking weighty questions and ideas, and presenting them in a way that is easy to digest.

If you have ever asked any of these questions:

"what does it means to be human?"

"what does the church say about that?"

"how does that affect how i live my life?"

then you will enjoy this read. I have.
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Format: Paperback
Gushee tackles hard questions through rhythmic words that seem to bounce off the page. What makes me tick? How can I be morally good? Should I just try harder or am I doomed from the beginning? Gushee explores all areas from genes to luck and those in between to answer these age old questions. This is flowing, melodious read. Add one sunny afternoon and you are in for a treat.
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Format: Paperback
Gushee's book is a wonderful analysis of key questions that are pertinent to the Christian identity. He touches on questions such as whether human nature even exists and why relationsships matter so much to humans--amongst others of course. For the Christan, this book is a wonderful book to incite thought and discussion on what being a Christian really means when it comes to moral life and the outlook on humanity. For those who would not consider themselves Christians, this book will aquaint you to foundational thoughts from a Christian worldview (mainly evangelical) on what it means to be a human being. This is truly a thoughtful, cogent and smart book that encourages thought on key issus on identity from a very good Christian moral philosopher. I really enjoyed it.
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