The project has disseminated reviews and other information about Christian books since the start of the Millennium. We regret that it is no longer possible to sustain it.
Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures
by Kester Brewin
Publisher:Hodder and Stoughton
I’m not sure I can do justice to this book which definitely warrants a second read. Kester Brewin explores Miraslov Volf's question; ‘What kind of selves do we need to be in order to live in harmony with others?’ Within the three sections of the book entitled Loving the other within God; Within the self and Within society, an enormous amount of topics are covered during which Kester Brewin sweeps between science, philosophy, theology and sociology in order to consider ways in which we might better engage with the ‘other’. If I am making this book sound heavy or unreadable, it really isn’t, but it does give the reader a huge amount to chew on and to wrestle with. It is a book that provides neither answers nor formulas but there is plenty here to challenge and to inspire.
A key idea that Kester Brewin talks about is Hakim Bey’s idea of TAZ moments (temporary autonomous zones) and he builds on this idea of ‘life’s penetration by the marvellous’ exploring ways in which we can give up our obsession with permanence and be set free by transformative and yet temporal TAZ experiences . In TAZ moments we might find ourselves feasting or festivalling; Brewin says “this is piratical Christianity – existing in the spaces outside of the maps that the ruling powers make, bursting through in surprising places to take temporary hold of some space or time. Like Jesus’ own ministry – erupting with miracles and healing and encounters with lepers and outcasts – it will be berated as heresy by those in authority.’
Having finished this book I find myself coming back to it, as it continues to challenge me. No doubt I will read it again perhaps more than once.
The introduction ends with a good summary of what Kester Brewin is wrestling with:
“it is easy to love what is lovely but we are called to love what is other.
It is easy to love what is familiar, but we are called to love what is strange.
It is easy to love what is comforting, but we are called to love what is disturbing to us.’
As interesting as the book itself, the notes are also highly readable and contain some fascinating gems.
Reviewer: Kathy Bland (28/10/10)