Saturday, August 11, 2007

Book Review: Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church by Laurence Hull Stookey

This book serves admirably as both a primer on the liturgical calendar and a refreshing reconsideration of our approach to the interpretation of the liturgical year.

Stookey's strengths lay in his brevity and clarity. And yet he manages to interpret the calendar with great pastoral warmth and theological integrity.

Although the book is as much apologetic for the observation of the church year as it is an explanation of that observation, Stookey easily avoids sounding as if he has a chip on his shoulder. He also manages to avoid the temptation to argue for the liturgical year as being biblically mandated. Although it couldn't be more apparent that he has a strong conviction with regard to its observance, his polemic (at least in the book) is based more upon the wisdom and benefit of such observance as well as historical precedent.

I only found one fault while reading, but upon reflection, I believe the fault was my own!

I highly recommend this book to anyone along the spectrum of liturgical observance. Roman Catholics and Anglicans will inevitably learn more about their own observance while members of the free or restoration churches that tend to neglect explicit observance will find that just because it isn't commanded doesn't mean there is no benefit.

This will be the text I use as a primary recommendation to anyone interested in embarking upon a study of the liturgical calendar.

More than an academic exercise, I found myself drawn to the Savior and inspired to take a more considered approach to my observance of time and the Christian cycle.

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