Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: Other

The Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of FracturesThe Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures by Kester Brewin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

on page 175 Kester Brewin states what Other is all about:
In a sense then this book is simply a plea to see Jesus' summary of the law (Love God, Love People, Love the Self) as a new form of development practice, one that sees the face of the other as its sacred text.

Love God. Love Others. Love the self. that's it. simple isn't it? perhaps not...
Brewin's writing style kept me coming back to this book. admittedly there were times when i had to put the book down. at times i felt as though i was reading the words but not initially comprehending what i was reading. none the less i couldn't stop thinking about my relationship with the 'other.'

i think this book has made me more self aware, aware of God and (hopefully) aware of the 'other'. defining who is the 'other' in my present surroundings is my current dilemma. but i think my eyes are being opened more. perhaps some 'others' have already crossed my path. did i attribute conversations or assistance as God given, ordained times to be love? perhaps not always.

some of my favorite sections of this book dealt with 'embracing transcendence and immanence'; 'embracing the stranger and the dangerous place'; 'temporality'; 'losing our lives'; etc.

part four titled Loving the other in praxis was brilliant and practical. how do we practice loving the other? there is enough talking about it... enough theology... what about action? these sections in part four were highlights: Engaging the other within the self; Engaging the other within our faith; and Engaging the other within our communities.

kester brewin might be wrong. as he states on a blank page before the table of contents. but he might be right, too. this quote on page 133 sums it all up: "We will, in other words, begin to love the other when we love ourselves enough to allow God - who is love - to lead us." i think he's right.
Jesus states the greatest commandment in Matthew 22. (Love God. Love Others. Love the Self). Brewin tackles this commandment with grace - looking deeply into all three. (frankly - as many times as i've read that commandment, even studied that commandment, i've never focused on the 'love self' part) Brewin paints a picture where all three intersect in harmony. now i am beginning to see how that might play out in my life. As the back of the book states: what kind of selves do we need to be in order to live in harmony with others?

Brewin's Other is making me think... i wonder how long i can chew on his words before i either live them out or forget. i'm hoping i'll remember. i'm hoping this book continues to stick with me.

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