During seminary, the topic of forgiveness (both divine and interpersonal) was one to which I devoted a lot of time and study. So I was excited to see a new publication treating the subject from Kregel Publications.
In Forgiveness and Justice, Dr. Bryan Maier addresses the subject from the perspective of a professor, minister, and counselor. Of those three areas, the counseling focus and background come through most strongly. While there is engagement with the Biblical text, the book is not primarily academic. While there are clear applications to the use of these ideas in the context of a church body, it is not the main focus of the book. It is the counseling arena that informs the main ideas of the book and that receives the most attention.
Of particular note is Maier’s treatment of how the Imprecatory Psalms impact our idea of forgiveness. For instance, he discusses how and what we ask victims of abuse to do as they consider their situations and whether there can be any forgiveness there.
I found the book to be interesting and yet not what I expected. If I had come to it knowing more about its approach (more counseling than academic or pastoral) I feel that I would have benefited more from it.
Dr. Maier does a good job breaking down the idea of forgiveness, questioning what it is and is not, and forming a detailed definition that will give the reader much to consider. His expertise and experience with the topic are clear, and the book is written clearly and succinctly. I enjoyed it despite it not being exactly what I thought it might be.
3.5 stars out of 5
Dr. Bryan Maier. Forgiveness and Justice. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2017. 230 pp. $16.99.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for the review copy, which I received for free in exchange for an impartial review!
In Go Set a Watchman, we return along with Jean Louise “Scout” Finch to Maycomb, Alabama. But we, like Scout, discover all is not as we left it when we last were there.
Time has changed Maycomb, and Scout isn’t so sure she likes what she finds. The reader, too, will be challenged by the change and forced to wrestle with uncomfortable realities. To Kill A Mockingbird has become our culture’s parable of the evils of systemic racism and the honor, nobility, and goodness of one man’s quixotic stand against that system in the name of justice. But can we and can Scout still love the man who steps out of that parable and into our real, flawed, and broken world?
A heavy, heartbreaking, and raw read that asks us to take a look at ourselves and honestly assess what we see.
4 stars out of 5.
Here are five quotes to give you a taste of Scout’s return to Maycomb.
1. Scout wrestles with doubt
…How can they devoutly believe everything they hear in church and then say the things they do and listen to the things they hear without throwing up? I thought I was a Christian but I’m not. I’m something else and I don’t know what (167).
2. Blindness as a major theme for Scout.
Blind, that’s what I am. I never opened my eyes. I never thought to look into people’s hearts, I looked only in their faces (181).
3. Scout’s esoteric uncle on the perils of big government.
The only thing I’m afraid of about this country is that its government will someday become so monstrous that the smallest person in it will be trampled underfoot, and then it wouldn’t be worth living in (198).
4. Atticus and Jean Louise at odds.
JL: Don’t you give me any more double-talk! You’re a nice, sweet, old gentleman, and I’ll never believe a word you say to me again. I despise you and everything you stand for.
A: Well, I love you (253).
5. A man’s conscience is his watchman.
Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience (264-5).