In a Landscape Redrawn
Size: 180 mm x 130 mm
Publisher: Veritas Publications
In acknowledging the cultural wars, which mark these first decades of the 21st century in Ireland, it is very difficult to know how one might engage in a logical, considered and reasonable argument to counteract much of the commentary which can be found in various media platforms and portals. This short book from Donal Murray, Bishop Emeritus of Limerick, might go the distance for a person to become conversant on some of the issues which are in the crucible of faith and culture today.
The title comes from a quotation from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who Bishop Murray rightly describes as ‘one of the most perceptive commentators on the contemporary world.’ Sacks suggests, in his 1991 book Persistence of Faith, a ‘profound redrawing of our moral landscape’.
In the introduction, the author presents the two questions which are at the heart of the book and which are important to any understanding of where humanity might situate itself in the world today. The first question, or rather series of questions are: Who are we? How do we understand the meaning and purpose of our lives? How does Christian faith illuminate our nature and dignity? The second question: How do we understand freedom and make moral decisions?
Divided into seven chapters of around twenty pages a piece, this allows for a chapter reading at one sitting, which makes following the argument and the logic of each theme much easier. Chapter one discusses human identity and the understanding that we are not alone. In chapter two, this understanding is expanded, but with an acknowledgment to what Pope Francis calls each age’s tendency to have ‘only a meagre awareness of its own limitations.’ However, into this mix comes the great mystery of God, which has been set aside by many today in favour of things which will never fill the emptiness of the absence of God. Bishop Murray sketches what is the essence of Christian morality and what is at the heart of the Law of Christ. Chapter three has a fuller explanation
— Veritas Publishing
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Rather than becoming despondent about the future of our faith, Bishop Murray encourages us to reassess our deeply personal relationship with God and to take consolation in the Good News of Christ. By first exploring what it means to be human, and then considering how Christianity illuminates our humanity, this book highlights how a profound respect for Gospel values can improve all facets of life both in the personal and the public spheres.