In this gracious and instructive book, poet and novelist Parini (The Last Station) builds a plan for living out what Jesus meant when he commanded his followers to put love first. Parini describes growing up in Scranton, Penn., and how his father’s conversion to Christianity forced a shift in his own thinking about faith. Although he believed in Jesus, his father’s frequent sermonizing made him question whether the followers of all other religions were really doomed to hell. This curiosity then opened him to teachings from Buddhism and Hinduism, which led the way to his concluding that “belief is simply a fondness, a yearning; not a contractual arrangement with God.” Parini breaks the book into four sections discussing his own faith journey, the history of Christian thinking, the church calendar year, and a selection of poems by T.S. Eliot. Devout readers will find the third chapter, “The Christian Mind,” especially relevant as he confronts the claims of prosperity gospel preachers, processes political corruption in the Vatican, and considers the collateral effects of the Protestant Reformation. In the final chapter, Parini eloquently mines Eliot’s Four Quartets as inspiration for living a life filled with “prayer, observance, discipline, thought, and action,” which also serve as his keys for living a spiritual and ethical life. Parini’s thoughtful book will appeal to devout Christians as well as skeptical readers interested in the teachings of Christ. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018 Release date: 03/27/2018 Genre: Religion
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.