Forest, Jim "The Ladder of the Beatitudes" - 1999
Another great book by Jim Forest. If you want to explore Christianity, if you want to get closer to your religion, these are the books you should read. Jim has a great way of describing any part of our belief in giving real life examples and explaining scripture drawing from his own experiences and/or those of friends. His books are easy to read but not an easy read.
In this work, he describes the Beatitudes. For those who don’t know what that means, I am sure you have heard the words "Blessed are the poor in spirit".
A lot of topics in this book speak to me. I just want to quote and comment on one issue I found on page 49: "Few aspire to humility; we prefer being proud. 'I'm proud to be .... (fill in the blank).' We’re proud of who we are, what we’ve done, the national or ethnic group to which we happen to belong. Coming from 'humble origins' means not being born with a silver spoon in your mouth but, through perseverance and hard work, leaving poverty behind and achieving things to be 'proud of'."
I have a huge problem with racism and I believe that patriotism is the first step towards it, same as being proud of anything we haven't done ourselves. Jim Forest just knows how to express this in much a better way than I ever will be able to.
How can you not admire this guy?
From the back cover:
"Drawing on stories from the lives of the saints, scripture, and everyday life, Jim Forest opens up the mysteries of the beatitudes. These ancient blessings, with which Christ began his Sermon on the Mount, are all aspects of communion with God. As Forest shows, they are like rungs on a ladder, each one leading to the next. They appear at the doorway of the New Testament to provide an easily memorized summary of everything that follows, right down to the crucifixion ('Blessed are you who are persecuted') and the resurrection ('Rejoice and be glad')"
Also read: "Praying with Icons", "The Road to Emmaus. Pilgrimage as a Way of Life" and "Confession. Doorway to Forgiveness".