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The Beatitudes for Today

Westminster John Knox Press / 2005 / Paperback

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Product Description

In this first volume of an exciting new series for laity, author and pastor James Howell takes us on an engaging exploration of the Beatitudes. Howell considers each of the well-known phrases in these passages from Matthew (Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .) and creatively applies the teachings of Jesus to our contemporary world and Christian lives.

The For Today series will provide reliable and accessible resources for the study of important biblical texts, theological documents, and Christian practices. The series is written by experts who are committed to making the results of their studies available to those with no particular biblical or theological training. The goal is to provide an engaging means to study texts and practices that are familiar to laity in churches. The emphasis is not only on what these subjects have meant in the past but also on their value in the present-For Today. Questions for discussion are included at the end of each chapter. The books are ideal for individual study and for group study in churches. Future volumes will cover the Ten Commandments, the Psalms, the Lord's Prayer, hymns, the Apostles' Creed, Christian prayer, and parables.
James C. Howell is pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of several books, including Yours Are the Hands of Christ and The Kiss of God.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 136
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 0664229328
ISBN-13: 9780664229320
Availability: In Stock
Series: For Today

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Publisher's Description

In this volume of the For Today series, author and pastor James Howell takes us on an engaging exploration of the Beatitudes. Howell considers each of the well-known phrases in these passages from Matthew and creatively applies Jesus' teachings to our contemporary world and Christian lives.

The For Today series was designed to provide reliable and accessible resources for the study and real life application of important biblical texts, theological documents, and Christian practices. The emphasis of the series is not only on the realization and appreciation of what these subjects have meant in the past, but also on their value in the present--"for today." Thought-provoking questions are included at the end of each chapter, making the books ideal for personal study and group use.

Author Bio

James C. Howell is pastor of the Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the author of a number of books including Discovering the Will of God: Answering the Hard Questions; The Beatitudes for Today; and Introducing Christianity: Exploring the Bible, Faith, and Life, all published by Westminster John Knox Press.

Publisher's Weekly

Throughout Christian history, the New Testament benedictions known as the Beatitudes (blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, etc.) have been interpreted in wildly different ways. So it's singularly appropriate that Howell, a biblical scholar and Methodist minister in North Carolina, begins his concise volume on the Beatitudes with a chapter on what Jesus didn't say: he didn't say "blessed are those who invest wisely; they will own a second home" or "blessed are the Americans," or even "blessed are the happy." Rather, Howell claims, Jesus focused on the downtrodden and planted the seeds for a "long-term moral revolution." Focusing primarily on the Beatitudes listed in Matthew 5 (with some comparison to the heated, more forceful version found in Luke 6), Howell dissects all eight sayings, trying to understand Jesus' meaning in its original context and for us today. He points out ironies-why is it blessed to be poor, or to mourn?-and calls attention to some radical, surprising elements to which many Christians have become inured. He nimbly draws from popular culture as well as classical literature. Each chapter closes with several questions for discussion, making this helpful for individual or group study. Blessed are the readers of this book, for they will come away wiser. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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    Parts of the text I found very thought provoking and other parts were pedestrian. On several occassions I found myself challenging the author's viewpoint - but isn't that what stimulates learing.
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