Friday, December 6, 2013

The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek

Road to Serfdom, written by F.A. Hayek for a British audience but not published until 1944,  has become a “classic,” and one I’d never heard of until Glenn Beck’s show on Fox. Beck probably did more to get people reading than Oprah Winfrey. Any mention of a title, and the warehouses were empties.  The left just hates the way it dismantles and warns about socialism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

I have vol. 2, the “The definitive edition,” with text and documents, edited by Bruce Caldwell (University of Chicago Press, 2007). There are 20 volumes in the provisional collected works by Mr. Caldwell.

Here’s something appropriate because of the lies with spin we’ve been subjected to lately.  From “my mother had no health insurance,” to “I never knew my Uncle Omar” to “You can keep your doctor, period,” this explains the thinking.

“The word “truth” itself ceases to have its old meaning.  It describes no longer something to be found, with the individual conscience as the sole arbiter of whether in any particular instance the evidence  . . . warrants a belief; it become something to be laid down by authority; something which has to be believed in the interest of the unity of the organized effort and which may have to be altered as the exigencies of this organized effort require it.” . . . produced cynicism, loss of the sense of even the meaning of truth, the disappearance of the spirit of independent inquiry and of the belief in the power of rational conviction. . . every branch of knowledge become political issues to be decided by authority. . . “ p. 178

Letters to President Clinton


There are a number of adoption stories in the Bible. Moses' name was given to him by his adoptive mother, the daughter of Pharoah who "drew him out of the water." The Bible doesn't say what his Hebrew name was, but according to the Midrash it was Tuvia. He kept his Egyptian name even after he knew he was a Hebrew. Rabbi Genack writes that as an Egyptian royal and not a Hebrew slave he asserted the then-unknown principle of the freedom and dignity of man. "It is therefore, Moses the Egyptian, and not Tuvia the Hebrew, who is destined to be the giver of the Law and the "father of Prophets" who will mouth the Divine imperative", (Deut. 16:20) "Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord you God is giving you." p. 12, Letters to President Clinton, (Sterling Ethos, 2013)

This book recommendation might surprise you, but hear me out. "Letters to President Clinton; Biblical lessons on faith and leadership," edited by Rabbi Menachem Genack, Sterling Ethos, 2013. Bill Clinton was a Southern Baptist who became friends with Rabbi Genack in 1992; they began a written dialogue that continues to the present. Genack also recruited other Jewish friends to join in the Biblical  reflections/commentary. These have been compiled and edited by him with comments dealing with the context and setting. Each essay is only a page or two, easily finished in one reading and organized by general topic, the largest probably being "Leadership," but also including "Sin and Repentance," "Creation," "Community," "Faith," "Dreams and Vision," and "Holidays." Protestants tend to cherry pick slections of the Old Testament to fit either "end times," or their denomination's teaching on Jesus. This is a fresh and delightful look at how Jews see those same stories and passages, along with the scholarship they've developed over thousands of years.

Rabbi Genack is rabbinic administrator and CEO of the Orthodox Union's Kosher Division, overseeing the certification program of some 7,000 food-production facilities in 80 countries. OU is America's oldest Orthodox Jewish communal organization, embracing over 400 synagogues across North America (from publicist). Whether you buy it or get it from your library, you'll enjoy this book (just don't expect to agree with everything, but that should be the case with all books about the Bible).

Letters to President Clinton: Biblical Lessons on Faith and Leadership Edited by Rabbi Menachem Genack, Sterling Ethos/OU Press, New York, 2013. 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4549-0791-6

This would be an excellent Christmas gift, Christian or Jew, Democrat or Republican.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The light of faith by Pope Francis

I was sent Pope Francis' "The light of faith" (Lumen Fidei) Ignatius Press, 2013, this summer to review. I pick it up occasionally and think, I really need to get into this. But I've found it not terribly readable--but then it's the first encyclical I've ever read. Beginning Oct. 2012, it was the year of faith for Roman Catholics. Pope Benedict had already written on charity and hope (Deus Caritas Est (2005) and Spe Salvi (2007) , and this was outlined as part of that trilogy, when he resigned in February. Francis calls it a work of 4 hands, and that it is, with Benedict's scholarly references to giants of the past, and Francis' sweetness in reaching out to the ordinary person in faith. I'll continue to dip in--and it's a small book about 5 x 7 with 110 pages. It still feels a little like an outline, but both of these great men know far more on the subject than I do, so it won't be wasted effort. I’ll keep working at it.

Pope Benedict “had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith” before his retirement in February 2013, Pope Francis writes, adding that “I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.”

Commentators are likely to differ in attributing specific passages, but the document clearly recalls the writings of Benedict XVI in its extensive treatment of the dialogue between faith and reason and its many citations of St Augustine, not to mention references to Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

On other hand, warnings of the dangers of idolatry, Gnosticism and Pharisaism, a closing prayer to Mary as the “perfect icon of faith”, and an entire section on the relevance of faith to earthly justice and peace echo themes that Pope Francis has already made signatures of his young pontificate.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beth Moore on my book shelf

Do you have some Beth Moore fans on your Christmas list? "Whispers of hope; 10 weeks of devotional prayer" (B&H Publishing Group, 2013, $14.99) might be a good choice. I just received my copy, and I really like the plan. You remember how Beth loves assignments and workbooks? With each of the 70 days, there are assigned scripture, Beth's personal and anecdotal musings, and then pages with 4 line...s each for your own thoughts on Praise, Repentance, Acknowledgment, Intercession, Supplication for Self, and Equipping. Whether you write something down isn't as important in my view as the nudge to include these areas in your prayer life.

"I'm certain of two things: prayerless lives are powerless lives, and prayerful lives are powerful lives." Beth Moore

                         Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer  -     By: Beth Moore

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Amen to that! The amazing way the Bible influences our everyday language

For someone who is a word nerd, and just a little bit religious?  I’m suggesting “Amen to that! The amazing way the Bible influences our everyday language,” by Ferdie Addis, Reader’s Digest, 2014. 165 pp. (5 x 7 inches, hard cover) $14.99.

I just received it today for review, and am having such fun browsing. Each familiar saying (that perhaps you didn't know came from the King James Bible) includes the appropriate verse reference and several paragraphs of explanation, history and how it is used today. There is also a nice bibliography and index, which are the heart's desire for most librarians (Romans 10:1), even those who are 3 score and 10 (Psalm 90:10).

So for that special some who is “the apple of your eye,” or “the salt of the earth” for whom there’s “nothing new under the sun,” try this one.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two yard sale books, $1.00


I didn’t see anything at the dealers, but there was a yard sale about 2 blocks away and I found two books for $.50 each, The folklore of Maine, by Horace P. Beck, 1st ed., 1957, nice cover, perfect condition, but dull to read, and the 1998 hardcover of Taste of Home Annual Recipes. These recipes are very similar to what I already make, but they are useful for jogging the memory.  I think today I’ll make “Calico eggs,” which has peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Sausage Granola Squares Recipe

Also saw a very easy looking sausage dish, “Sausage granola squares.”  1/2 lb of bulk sausage, 3/4 cup of granola cereal with fruit and nuts, and 1 egg slightly beaten. Combine, put in 2 qt. baking dish, at 375 for 20 min.  It doesn’t say to lightly cook the sausage and drain first, but I would. 1 serving (1/2 cup) equals 205 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 74 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

C.S. Lewis books

The speaker at Lakeside this week is Dr. Jerry Root, a C.S. Lewis scholar at Wheaton College. He is marvelous, speaking to packed hall, but quite a challenge. If it weren't for his stories and anecdotes, his talks on "pain," or "evil," would be a little too dense to follow on such a lovely day when one could walk down to the hotel lawn and watch sailboats.

So I went down to our new bookstore, "Fine Print" and bought two of his books. "The soul of C.S. Lewis; a mediative journey through twenty-six of his best-loved writings," written and edited by Wayne Martindale, Jerry Root, and Linda Washington, Tyndale House Publishers, 2010, and "The quotable Lewis, an encyclopedic selection of quotes from the complete published works of C.S. Lewis," Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root, editors. Tyndale House, 1990. Both books should suit my attention span. By reading these books, I think you have a plan for a university education.

From the Tyndale page: "Jerry Root, PhD, wrote both his MDiv thesis and PhD dissertation on C. S. Lewis. He is an associate professor at Wheaton College and a visiting professor at Biola University, teaching courses on Lewis at both schools. He has written several books and numerous articles on Lewis as well as lectured about him on fifty-four college and university campuses in seven different countries. He has been teaching college and university courses on Lewis since 1980."

Book details

Oh, and now I have a shopping bag that says Peace. Love. Books.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bible Stories

We have a remainder/cut price store in Columbus called "Marc's." I found a little treasure yesterday for $3. If you go to the last aisle past the cereal and carpets, they've moved a section of children's books. On the top shelf there were about 20 copies of "Bible Stories," by Martina Degl'innocenti and Stella Marinone. I picked one up thinking it was a child's book, but it wasn't--it was about every manner of art from paintings, to sculpture to tapestry to miniatures, illustrating biblical stories--275 in full color. It was originally published in Italy, and the reprint (Abrams) was done in Spain. The authors have selected every major and minor Bible story and illustrated it with art from the ages. The text is elegant and easy to read with no weird ideas on what the stories meant. Very straight forward. One little treasure was something we'd seen when we were in Orvieto, Italy, a few years ago.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Booknotes from 1983 and 1984

With the New Year, I've been repacking old notebooks and files, and came across a list of books I read in 1983--whether I actually owned them I don't remember--or least not most.

1983 (Summer)




Indecent obsession

Second Generation



Your Christian wedding (I was the church librarian and not only purchased the books but reviewed them for the newsletter)

When your kids have children

The masks of melancholy

Death of a Guru

Touchstones; letters between two women, 1953-1964 (I remember this was a gift from a friend)


An adopted woman by Katrina Maxtone-Graham. I drove to Cincinnati with a friend to hear her give a presentation at a department store. She was the mother-in-law of my assistant who was married to her daughter. He later had a sex change and became a woman. Interesting family. I think I did own this book.

Temptation (I assume this was something for the church library)

Our marvelous native tongue

Giving time a chance