The Orthodox Heretic And Other Impossible Tales Hardcover – April 1, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
" Religious writing is usually designed to make the truth of faith clear, concise, and palatable. Parables subvert this appraoch. In the parable, truth is not expressed via some dutsy theological discourse that seeks to educate us, but rather ita arises as a lyrical dis-course that would inspire and transform us. In light of this, the enclosed parables do not seek to change our minds but rather to change our hearts."
- Peter Rollins
- Publisher : Paraclete Press; 1/30/09 edition (April 1, 2009)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 184 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1557256349
- ISBN-13 : 978-1557256348
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.63 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed all the stories. At first I was a little disappointed that Rollins added a commentary after each one, preferring the idea of grappling with the point of the parable myself. Giving an explanation in a sense takes some of the power out of the parables themselves. However, in hindsight I am glad he did give us a commentary, as his own insights and thoughts give a deeper understanding to his parables.
His style of fiction reminded me, in some ways, of the short stories of Ray Bradbury. In particular, his ability to make the final sentence not only take the reader by surprise, but add an entirely new depth to the whole story.
From what I know of Rollings he is primarily a non-fiction writer, and this is good news, for he has plenty of unique and valuable insights into the spiritual life and the human experience. However, I do hope he decides to at some point to pen a full length novel. He has shown through this small book of parables he has the skill to do it.
author of God's Grammar: A Novel
This a book of tales; a book of parables. Some are taken from the Bible. Some are not.
Each one is a relatively short read, followed by a commentary. There’s much wisdom here, as well as humor, suspense, and unexpected twists.
“In the parable, truth is not expressed via some detached logical discourse…
Parables subvert the desire to make faith simple and understandable.”
We look at “the true meaning of the phrase Word of God,” as Peter declares “it is impossible to affirm God’s Word apart from becoming that Word, apart from being the place where that Word becomes a living, breathing act.”
We view many of the parables of Jesus from slightly different perspectives, which can sometime render very different understandings.
Mr. Rollins believes, as do I, that we should not “treat the Bible as a type of textbook providing us with an ethical blueprint,” and that we must question “whether the Bible can be treated in this way without doing the teachings of Jesus a great injustice.”
The new insights on “turn the other cheek” were both eye-opening and, depressing. We look at the kind of people Jesus was speaking to, and contrast that to the kind of people he was speaking about. When we realize that “through the clothes we buy, the coffee we drink, the investments we make, and the cars that we drive,” we are often supporting slave labor and suffering, we can see ourselves not as the ones turning the other cheek, but rather, as the ones doing the slapping.
[That's one reason my wife and I now only buy "fair-trade" coffee. I know it may not be possible (or feasible) to eliminate all avenues of our negative footprints, but if we at least do something, we can make a difference.]
There’s a simply wonderful tale of a kind, well-respected elderly priest, and a jealous, self-absorbed prince who’s hell-bent on exposing the priest as a “coldhearted liar who sells the people lies in order to live.” I had my wife, Kathy, read that one. She didn’t see the “twist” coming, either. It’s really good.
There’s also some fresh material on “the pearl of great price,” “the prodigal son,” “feeding the five-thousand,” and many others.
This anthology is, I think, perfect for short, meditative daily readings (or, as some prefer the term, “quiet-time.”). It’s really not a book you should even attempt to read in one or two sittings, although it would be easy to do so. At least half of the value of reading this book is the story-by-story personal reflection.
I didn’t know this was a collection of short stories when I ordered it. If memory serves me, I purchased this book on the recommendation of a Facebook friend. I do not recall which one. Whoever you are, “Thank You!” I loved “The Orthodox Heretic,” and will certainly be reading more writings of Peter Rollins.
Top reviews from other countries
A few of the tales are genuinely thought provoking, but as I worked my way through the book I couldn't stop myself reflecting on how contrived they were in comparison to the original parables of Jesus.
The quality of the writing is fine, though somewhat dry and academic for my taste (especially in the Introduction). I would have liked the material to have been more imaginative, subversive and controversial, and less derivative. Overall, I didn't regret my purchase, but this is a book I couldn't recommend to friends with any great enthusiasm.
This is excellent, as Rollins says in the introduction do not rush headlong through this, rather read a parable, and the commentary on it, and then prayerfully consider the message before moving on.
A personally challenging process...
This book would be an excellent resource for anyone in a leadership position with groups, as each parable would be an excellent discussion topic.
I am sure this will no the my last book by this most thought provoking author.