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Night of the Confessor: Christian Faith in an Age of Uncertaintyby Tomas Halik
Synopses & Reviews
Tomáš Halík is a wise guide for the post-Christian era, and never more so than in his latest work, a thought-provoking and powerful reflection on the relationship between faith, paradox, change, and resurrection.
As the challenges of cultural secularization and dwindling congregation size confront religious communities across North America and Europe, and the Catholic Church in particular, Tomáš Halík is a prophetic voice of hope. He has lived through the political oppression and intolerance of religion that defined Communist Czechoslovakia, and he draws from this experience to remind readers that not only does crisis lead to deeper understanding but also that any living religion is a changing religion. The central messages of Christianity have always seemed impossible, from peace and forgiveness in the face of a harsh world to love and self-sacrifice despite human selfishness to the victory of resurrection through the defeat of the cross. Acceptance of paradox therefore is the way forward, Halík explains. It is a difficult way that offers an unclear immediate future, but it is ultimately the only honest way.
"At the end of the first chapter, HalÃk (Patience with God) invites the reader not to continue unless he or she is able to explore the Christian faith in terms of paradox. A Catholic priest who has heard a lifetime's worth of confessions, he has gleaned certain elemental attributes that bespeak deep truths about God, faith, and obedience. HalÃk speaks out of the experience of living under religious oppression in Communist Czechoslovakia, which may account for the book's mournful tone. Christianity, he says, means following the 'one who did not evade the darkness.' He rebukes the preening and prancing faith healers whose ministries before crowds betray narcissism and megalomania. Faith, as delineated here, is not easy; not fancy; not about formulas, platitudes, or rewards. His theme is mystery, a timely antidote to otherwise predictable notions about authentic belief. Read slowly, it makes sense, if the reader is willing to suspend systems, pietisms, and preconceived categories within the Christian faith, a challenge that does not disappoint." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Tomas Halik is an author.
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