My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Review: Christian Love

Christian Love Christian Love by Bernard V. Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: *****
Performance: ***

The Evolution of Christian Love

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13)

This is a review on how the understanding of the Command to Love as a Christian vocation has evolved since the founding of the faith centuries past. The other begins with how love is portrayed in the Hebrew scriptures (aka Old Testament), focusing on the aspects of ahab (broadly between persons) and hesed (compassion and mercy). Examples are taken from Ruth, Tobit and Song of Solomon among others. Dr Brady follows that up with another two (2) part chapter on Agape (Greek) and Caritas (Latin) in the New Testament (the latter coming from a Latin translation of the Greek). From there, we start to consider the various theologians and philosophers who were the thought leaders of their time, such as St Augustine (another two part chapter), three (3) medieval mystics (Bernard of Clairvaux, Julian of Norwich and Hadewijch), Courtly Love poets such as Andreas Capellanus in response to the mystical love movement … eventually bring us to the present time after considering St Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther. Our modern understanding was greatly influenced by 19th century theologians such as Søren Kierkegaard, Anders Nygren, Reinhold Niebuhr; and 20th century activists such as Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II; to finish with Jules Toner and Gene Outka.

Dr Brady skillfully weaves in all of these sources to come to three (3) general propositions about Christian Love.

1) God Is Love
2) Humans Love
3) The Full meaning of human love is found within the full participation in God’s Love.

In other words, we have the Lover, the Beloved and the Love shared between them (one of the concepts frequently used to explain the concept of the Christian Trinity).

The chapters and sections in this work are:
Preface 0.1 - I Love Therefore I Am (7m)
Chapter 1.2 - Love In the Old Testament (70m)
Chapter 1.3 - Romantic Love (72m)
Chapter 2.4 - Love in the New Testament (73m)
Chapter 3.5 - St Augustine (106m)
Chapter 3.6 - Ordered Love (94m)
Chapter 4.7 - Mystical Love (74m)
Chapter 5.8 - Troubadours and Troubled Romance (39m)
Chapter 6.9 - St Thomas Aquinas (50m)
Chapter 7.10 - Martin Luther (40m)
Chapter 8.11 - Christian Love is Sacrificial Love (43m)
Chapter 9.12 - Love Activists (84m)
Chapter 10.13 - Self Regard, Other Regard and Mutuality (70m)
Chapter 11.14 - Reflections on Christian Love (29m)

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ChristianLove #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.