I shared a while ago that I received a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble (used) Bookstore. Well, yesterday I had a Dr. appointment for my shoulder (I fell on the ice a few months ago and sprained it pretty bad) – on the way home I stopped in at B&N! ps. I use “used” here lightly since in essence few of the books at B7N are actually “new” since anyone and everyone can finger through them as they please. Here were my diverse choices:
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (Barnes & Noble Classics), January 2005 edition. Okay, so I took a leap here, but I was influenced by Eugene Peterson to consider the purchase. He wrote about how he read through all of Dostoevesky’s novels at a critical juncture in his ministry and that in many ways gave him new hope of understanding people and the ministry. So I when I saw it (B&N has a whole section of the Classics in the Store) I decided to give one of the books a chance. If it goes well, perhaps I read more. Not bad for the price too, all the classics are $7.95 despite page length and The Idiot is 576 pages. So not too bad for the price.
The basic idea is that the main character, Myshkin, “dramatizes Dostoevsky’s image of ‘a perfectly beautiful man,’ a being who comes as close as humanly possible to the Christian Ideal; but for Dostoevsky there was only ‘ one positively beautiful figure in the world – Christ,’ and the appearance of Christ had been ‘and infinite miracle.’ There could only be one God-man; and while He remained an eternal aspiration for humanity, such aspiration could never obvioulsy receive its complete fulfillment” (from the back cover).
Dallas Willard’s Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge (HarperOne, 2009). This one just came out in May and I find out about it through a comment somewhere on one of the blogs (I can’t remember where at the moment). This is a book that addresses the serious problem of the separation of faith and knowledge – many in today’s world are being told these two things to not belong together, that in fact, faith falls short of knowledge. Yet, too often those of faith find themselves in conflict with the supposed “knowledge” as portrayed in various educational and professional circles. In essense, the claim is that anyone with a reasonable amount of knowelge about life and the world will obviously see Christianity and the story of Jesus as simple silliness and superstition. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.
So, Willard asks the question: Is the Gospel True? The answer is yes and and he argues that Christian beliefs and teachings are more than simply personal opinions or personal preferences – they are a reliable source of knowledge on par with if not over and above the knoweldge of other disciplines. He warns this is not easy reading and will require some considerable mental effort to understnand. I look forward to it.
William Wilberforce’s Real Christianity: A Practical View of the Prevailing Religous System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Class in this Country, contrasted with Real Christianty (Regal, 2006). This was book first published in 1797. This edition is a revised and updated by Bob Beltz (no idea who he is). I had this book or one like it a while ago, and lost it. So I was glad to find it again. Reading it makes it hard to believe it was for the mid-to late 1700’s! Wilberforce was the single most influential leader of the abolition movement in the England of his day.