February 29th, 2016

picture icon iv

Book Notes

Only two books in February -- guess I was hit more strongly by malaise than I thought. Also, i was sick for a week.

Four Modern Prophets
William M. Ramsay
John Knox Press, 1986

Ramsay's point is that Walter Rauschenbusch, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Rosemary Radford Ruether are prophets in the same sense that Amos, Micaiah, Jeremaiah and other Old and New Testament prophets are: They say our primary purpose in life is to work to address social inequities and injustices, using biblical principles to guide our actions. I think he makes a good case, but I'm not a biblical scholar. I still think that "the bible" is such a large and cumbersome object, written by so many different hands in so many different political climates, that you can find something in it to justify your social prejudices no matter what they are. I still think you don't need religion to have an ethical understanding of life and our purpose here. On the other hand, I thought some of the quotes from Walter Rauschenbusch were invigorating and still all too applicable today, more than a hundred years later.

Greg Bear
Tor, 2015

Written in 1985, and set in the far distant future of a couple years ago, this is remarkably undated. Sure, there's no Internet, but everyone has a "slate" and "memory blocks" which I just took to be tablets and USB drives. But this is really a fun space opera, with many interesting ideas and extrapolations. I'm getting into the sequel immediately.