Two of my favorite quotes:
“If a writer’s experience and subjectivity is useful we need to think why? Here I am suggesting that these experiences are of little use if they are not put to work in service of reaching out to others. ”
–Les Back, The Art of Listening (page 160)
“. . . hope is established in the accumulation of small acts that defy division, hatred and mutual misunderstanding . . . .
For a more complete review please see “The Art of Listening,” April 24, 2008.
I’ve been on a religious reading kick this past month. Here are three books – two being specific to Mormonism and one that is not – that were interesting to me and might be of interest to you.
1) Mormonism and Evolution: The Authoritative LDS Statements by William E. Evenson and Duane E. Jeffrey. Here’s a short, quick, fascinating dip into how the LDS Church has dealt with one of the most controversial topics among religious circles. Here, the authors have compiled statements by or approved by the First Presidency of the Church. Most of these statements are in the 1930’s (when controversy was particularly hot), but the Church’s position hasn’t changed much since then, hence why little has been said in the last 70 years by the Church leadership. The general consensus is that the Church of Jesus Christ is neither for or against evolution, and it isn’t relevant to a person’s salvation anyway.
2) Mormonism for Dummies by Jana Riess, PhD and Christopher Kimball Bigelow. In the spirit of any For Dummies book, it’s both an informative and funny crash-course in Mormon theology, history, culture and anything in between. It does a good job of showing the official doctrine of the Church, as well as some of the oddities of some LDS members. While the Church of Jesus Christ may have the road map to salvation, that doesn’t keep some members and aspects of Mormon culture from being rather strange. A nice read for both Mormon and non-Mormon alike, proving very informative for anyone looking to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ more closely.
3) I Was a Stranger: A Christian Theology of Hospitality by Arthur Sutherland. This was my favorite of the three – probably because it addresses an important aspect of Christianity that might not be getting the stage time it deserves. Hospitality is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be Christian and so essential that Sutherland goes so far as to say that it determines whether the church (any Christian church, I’d say) stands or falls. This is a short read, but leaves us with a fresh perspective on our relationship to strangers and how to more properly view and care for those around us. You don’t have to be religious for the principle of hospitality to have relevance; it is a principle that goes beyond religious circles and is just plain decent living.