Thursday, August 15, 2013

Learning all the Way...

Before we dream again, Samuel Wells in his new book calls us to learn to love again, to live again, to think, read, feel again, and finally, we may be ready to learn to dream again. Learning to Dream Again is published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. at (www.eerdmans.com).

Wells is now vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London. Before that, for seven years he was dean of the chapel at Duke University and a professor at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina. And if these essays and meditations sound like chapel talks, some probably were. I can hear the students chuckling as they follow his lead, sometimes hiding a tear or two.

Chapel time is brief. But in a book you can have a whole chapter or more on one point, and Wells uses the space to his advantage. And he sounds like what he is, an excellent teacher and preacher, with three points here and nine points under the third point—almost too much, except it’s all interesting, even captivating.

In the beginning of each chapter, Wells tells us what he is going to tell us. And then he begins, casting his line in elusive spots, patiently drawing us in to think along with him. He tells memorable stories, relates incidents in our own history and earlier times. He applies Old and New Testament stories to our concerns and I think readers’ hearts will be quick to settle in, thinking and applying those Scripture stories to our current situations and concerns, including abortion, taxation, torture, the arts, science, hunger, sports, marriage, work and leisure, politics, justice, forgiveness, and eventually, death. Wells asks how did Moses and Isaiah and other OT leaders do it? How did Jesus advise and conclude in the situations he faced?

There is so much “good stuff” in this book, it will take readers a long time to take it all in, listen, reflect, apply to their lives. So, you better begin soon.

—Lois Sibley