Peter Gomes compellingly argues that the Gospel of Jesus points to a future of hope and not toward religious nostalgia for a time that has never been. This book will seem 'liberal' to some because the Rev. Gomes argues for the inclusion of all people in the Kingdom which Jesus preached and for which he died and rose again. Rev. Gomes challenges those who see in the Bible the only legitimate expression of the Good News. Rev. Gomes calls for a renewal of the social gospel: the idea that the Christian community exists to challenge the conventional wisdom of society rather than act as an agent of the status quo which usually oppresses the poorest and the hungriest for God's grace.
For those who are understand themselves to be fundamentalists or who long for some mythical age of Christian virtue and power which never existed this book will be troubling. For liberal Christians who neglect the power and centrality of the Bible in any movement for Christian social justice, this book will be troubling. For those who view faith as a private, "spiritual" journey, this book will be troubling.
To be troubled by the erudition and wit of Rev. Gomes is a healthy opportunity for the soul.
Lynn Flewelling's work clearly owes a great debt to the work of David Eddings. She even scatters character names from his novels throughout her work as a tribute to him. In book 2, you'll find an apothecary's apprentice named Durnik and in book 3, you'll find a person named Geran. From Eddings, she takes a very slow approach to the narrative, making sure that each plodding day of travel is described. This can be enjoyable or wearing, depending on the listener.
The best thing about the novels is the way Flewelling questions the assumptions about gender and sexuality that bedevil so much high fantasy. Eddings women always let the men do the fighting and the only heroic couples Eddings can imagine are male-female.
Like Mercedes Lackey, Flewelling has strong dynamic women warriors and men who can both wield a sword and love each other. It makes a refreshing change. I was curious about the other reviewers who were made unhappy by having a same-sex couple be at the heart of a fantasy novel.
Fantasy should challenge us to imagine wider and more wondrous worlds. Flewelling is doing great when it comes to characterization, gender, and sexuality, I only hope that she learns to practice a bit more brevity as she develops as a writer.
This novel, while well written and well read by the narrator, is long, slow going. I believe the length and pace of the narrative is supposed to be justified by the "surprise" ending. I found that the final "twist" was not worth the journey to reach it.
In Elsewhere, Gabrielle Zevin describes an afterlife very much like life except that people age backwards from the time of their death and, when they are babies again, are returned to Earth for another go-round. Into this world comes Liz, dead by accident at 15, angry and depressed that she will never become an adult. While the author works hard to make her afterlife internally consistent and filled with a host of sympathetic and interesting characters, she's never able, in my view, to overcome a central problem with her plot: her afterlife is a benign but horrible place. Who wants to have the mind and desires of a 45 year-old and be trapped in the body of a 9 year-old. Crreepy. Talking animals and the occasional mermaid are just lipstick on the proverbial pig. I still gave the book 2 stars for not being badly written.
An efficiently written and extrememly light mystery. A harmless and pleasant diversion. But if you need light diversion and haven't read Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe series available here on Audible, I'd skip this author and read those instead.
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