interior of large cylinder of stacked books

Thoughts on *A Book of Uncommon Prayer* by Brian Doyle

I wish everyone could read this book. I understand that not everyone would think they would want to, for different reasons. But I wish it, anyway, because it is a beautiful book that has the effect of opening a reader’s (my) eyes to the delightful, marvelous, wondrous, good, true, vital things, ordinary things, that surround us continually, and so, reawakening a keen sense of gratitude for those things.

Having something that reawakens a keen sense of gratitude for the remarkable, taken-for-granted miracle that is ordinary everyday life seems like a good thing to wish on people.

Also, this is an unexpectedly good theology book. The theology is solidly and humanely orthodox, engaging rather than difficult to read, and clear rather than obscure. All this can rarely be said of theology books. That makes this one truly extraordinary.

It made its way onto the reading list because of this post on Beth Merrill Neel’s blog, for which, if for no other reason, I am now in her continuing debt.

It finally occurred to me I could do something towards making my own wish (see above) come true.

And so, this post.
red line embellished

red line embellished

Images: “Book Tower” (detail), Deror avi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Cover, Brian Doyle, A Book of Uncommon Prayer, Sorin Books, 2014.

4 responses to “Thoughts on *A Book of Uncommon Prayer* by Brian Doyle”

  1. The Inarguable Assignment

    More and more as I shuffle through this vale of wonders I begin to see that humility is the final frontier. We spend so much of our early lives building persona and confidence and career and status that it takes a looooong while before we sense the wild genius of the Beatitudes – blessed are those who do not think they are cool, blessed are those who abjure power, blessed are those who deflate their own arrogance and puncture their own pomposity, blessed are those who quietly strive to shrive their sins without calling attention to their overweening piety, blessed are those who know they are dunderheads but forge on cheerfully anyway. The thin Jewish Mystic, as usual, was pointing in the complete other direction than the arc of human history. Sprint away from being important, famous, powerful. The weak are strong, mercy is greater than justice, power is powerless. Believe in the unbelievable, isn’t that what He is saying? Isn’t it? Don’t try to make sense of it. Be attentive and humble and naked in spirit. Try for lean and clean though the world roars for glitter and gold. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, succor the sick and frightened and lonely, as the Christos says later in this very Gospel: that is the inarguable assignment, the blunt mission statement, the clear map coordinates. That is what we are here for: to bring love like a searing weapon against the dark, and to do so without fanfare and applause, without a care for sneers. Do what you know to be right, though the world calls you a fool? Yes! Thank you! Yes!
    – Brian Doyle

    Brian James Doyle, “The Inarguable Assignment,” from the January 2017 issue of Give Us This Day

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: