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An Orientation to Our Life: A Guide to Young Men and Women Paperback – January 1, 2007
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About the Author
John D. Kunnathu is an educator and an author of several books. He has had his higher studies in Linguistics, Literature, Education, and Religion. He has done extensive research on the thought-world of Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios. Christian worship is another topic on which he has done in-depth study. After being in Africa and in the US for over twenty-five years as an educator, he is now settled in Kottayam, India.
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There are several insightful messages the stood out for me, including the importance of asking for forgiveness for restoration and our relationship to God in death.
I think the most valuable aspect of this book is in the lessons we can learn about how to engage our young people to read, study and interpret the scriptures. This question and answer method is going to have a more lasting impression than would a teacher or church leader who approaches subjects with lectures and rigidity. If we allow them to ask questions without condemnation or ridicule, and then give answers that will require reflection and more study about the subject, they will learn discernment.
This is a short book, easy to read, and beautifully written. My favorite two quotes from this book:
"We are the expression of God's life within the limits of time and space."
"When they (life and earth) separate, we die. Earth goes back to the ground and life goes back to join the creator. Thus our life and God's life are one, and so we have no death."
The book should serve as a good philosophical introduction for youngsters of Abrahamic faiths to understand the value of pluralism. But, I doubt very much whether the "orthodoxies" ingrained in the custodians of the churches, synagogues and mosques will allow a book like this to be used as a primer in educating their youth. Despite that reservation, my sincere congratulations to the author in producing a helpful book that can aid the youngsters of Abrahamic faiths to understand the purpose of human existence.
The book's value would have been enhanced in my view, if the Rabbi (teacher in the book) had also delved deeper into the wisdom literature of the eastern faiths such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Taoism etc., in order to highlight the conceptual congruences between the Abrahamic faiths and other eastern religious tributaries that empty into the same and only "River of God". The latter's characterizations of heaven, hell, sex, purpose of human existence etc., would have been equally challenging for youngsters on this increasingly inter-dependent world to ponder over and see the syncretic features contained in all the great religions of the world. Never the less, the openness shown by the Rabbi to the spirit of pluralism as the underpinning needed for the preservation of a purposeful human community is indeed laudable.
C. Alex Alexander
15 basic questions are asked within the pages of this book, such as Why do we Live?, How can we Identify Good from Evil?, Does God exist? and so on. They are discussed in a meaningful and insightful manner within a conversational group venue between a Rabbi and young adults. Though this title does not adhere to any one Religious group it will provide insights into different scriptures and beliefs.
I found the book fascinating, contemplative and inspirational. I think it would make for a fantastic learning experience for anyone, not just young men and women. It engages the reader with thought provoking analysis of one's own beliefs and thought process. It will have you asking yourself questions and contemplating your own life and beliefs.
A short but good and educational read for everyone.
The setting of the book is ancient Egypt before Christ where it was usual to assemble every Saturday to worship God and to learn the Scriptures. This book explores the basic questions of existence in the form of easy-to-follow conversation. The author has succeeded in handling a few topics which ordinary minds do not bother thinking about. Some interesting topics are the meaning of human life, our position in the universe, mending broken relationship, identifying good from evil, challenging death, existence of God, meaning of sex, hell and heaven, and the rich and the poor.
This book will really help young minds who are confused in their thoughts and who have the tendency to get lost in their thinking. This is good for adults too who have not set their thinking and actions straight. Lots of adults are thoughtless for whom this book may be a treasure. This book has a universal outlook with no bias. I would like to congratulate Mr. John Kunnathu for his sincere effort.
-Cicily Sunny, Writer, [...]