In which I eventually get to documenting my reading adventures.
The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder
I was gripped by a desire to re-read this classic sometime back. I first
read this back in 2011, and it never left me. Yoder's power in this work
is in the unmasking of what is plainly in the gospel texts: Jesus did
have a politics which was particular to his time and place, but his
politics can nonetheless be applied in the here and now. Now why would
this message need to be unmasked? It is due to our culture and our
theology and our fixation on our own politics, I think. First-century
Palestine was such a remote time and place, it seems to many modern
readers that Jesus must have been a mystic on a quest to bring others to
Part of what I appreciate about The Politics of Jesus is that Yoder so
convincingly draws the pacifist line between state aggression on the one
hand and Christian anarchism on the other. He made space for law and
order and taxes and civil government while at the same time rejecting
the nationalist fervor which leads to consumptive war. My reading of
Yoder's vision saved me in a way, for at the time I was torn between
rejecting the brutality of the state on the one hand, but being unable
to commit to anarchism on the other.
This is a seminal work of Christian thought in the twentieth century, so
it is, of course, recommended.
Children of Light by Robert Stone
I love checking out new authors by way of the library, but alas my local
libraries are not very accessible given my commute. So I registered as a
patron of the Multnomah County library, and now use their Central branch
downtown for getting books close to work. Robert Stone's Children of
Light was my first acquisition with my new card.
The novel follows a few days in the lives of two Hollywood
personalities, a writer and an actor, erstwhile lovers, as they set out
on a crash course towards each other. The characters are soaked with
alcohol and drugs, personal demons, horrible friends and bad lack. It is
quite like reading about a train wreck in slow motion, with some good
nods to classic American literature as signposts on the track. To my
astonishment, Stone develops the characters in such a way as to remain
pitiful without sentimentalizing them. I grew fond of them, was rooting
for them. But be warned, fair reader: this is a tragedy.
- Harper's January 2014 - John P. Davidson's account of a modern
school for butlers is both amusing and perplexing - it seems that
the ultra-rich cannot help but descend into self-parody.