Friday, April 1, 2016

Book review published

I know it's not very professional to express excitement about certain things, but I've never claimed to be much of a professional, at least as regards those kinds of unspoken protocols. As both of my regular readers know, last summer I was invited by the University of Notre Dame's Center for Liturgy to lead a seminar on the diaconate. It was an experience I enjoyed immensely.

Last fall the Center invited me to read and review the The Heart of the Diaconate: Communion with the Servant Mysteries of Christ, by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., for the Institute's on-line publication Church Life Journal. The reason for my excitement is that today the journal published my first book review. My previous publications amount to one article in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament's publication Emmanuel entitled "Liturgy and Mission" (March/April 2008, Volume 114, Number 2) and an article for America magazine: "Looking Back and Ahead" (20 July 2009, Volume 201, Number 2).

Keating's book is quite good. It was a pleasure to read and review it. If you're interested in finding out my thoughts on this book, I invite you to read the review: "Review: 'The Heart of the Diaconate' by Deacon James Keating." Moreover, I invite you to check out the new on-line edition of Church Life Journal in its entirety, which is what I am doing.

In perusing the journal's new edition I came across another review that caught my eye- Andrew Geist's review of Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History, by John Bergsma. I've had a copy of Bergsma's book for awhile. I don't remember how I came to possess it and I have yet to read it. Based on Geist's review now I will.

I have to say, this is the most link-a-rific thing I've posted in a long time.


  1. Scott,
    Thanks for the review. I think Keating is spot on in his book, and would do well to keep expanding his ideas in it.

    I am on the editorial board of the Josephinum Diaconal Review, a twice a year journal on the diaconate. Jim Keating is the editor. I had my article, "The Diaconal Call to a Spiritual Martyrdom" published in it last year. If you haven't looked at the JDR, give it a bit of attention; I would be interested in your thoughts.

    You are quite an academic (I mean that in a complimentary way). Your writing always challenges me.

  2. Bob:

    I'll be honest, I had never heard of the JDR until now. I will check it out. I will seek out and read your article and, who knows, perhaps post on it. I can tell from the title it's right up my alley.

    I am preparing to begin doctoral studies this summer at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon. Preliminarily, I am planning to write my dissertation on an aspect of the diaconate, the theology of which remains very much under development. I am thinking of either building on my master's thesis, which concerned the relationship between the sacraments of orders and matrimony, or on diaconal spirituality, or perhaps merging the two into something useful. I was approached last summer at Notre Dame by a Catholic publisher about writing a book on diaconal spirituality. To date I've made little progress on the proposal.

    I certainly take what you wrote as a compliment. I hope I am intellectually curious and remain so. Without discarding important verities, I find the older I grow the less certainty I have. I find this oddly liberating.

    I enjoy reading your posts too. I think as permanent deacons we need to work at fostering a culture of mutually enriching each other. I was gratified and, I must admit, a little surprised by how much insight I gained from the deacons participating in the seminar I led on the diaconate. On the other hand, I sometimes think deacons in the public eye feel threatened by other deacons who emerge on the scene, as if somehow the pie is too small to share in terms of publishing, leading retreats, speaking, etc. I find it strange that I am often approached by people and entities outside of what might called the diaconal establishment but rarely by anyone from within it, despite writing a great deal over the past 10 years on the diaconate.

    One of the reasons I've maintained my blog for 10 years is that it is a way of continuously challenging myself.

    Anyway, long response. Sorry

  3. I know what you mean regarding the perception by other deacons of the size of the pie. I think our brothers in the presbytery, at times, see a small pie size and guard their perceived portion. Pride enters in so easily, pride that arises from a competitiveness that our secular culture imbues in us men and from which we deacons need to be purified.

    I would, selfishly, hope your doctoral dissertation take a look at the relationship between marriage and orders. There is so much lived experience that has accumulated (50 years in the U.S.), but not a lot written about it.

    Regarding the JDR, I do hope you take a look. If you wish to subscribe, contact I am beginning to use it as a continuing education tool for our deacons in the Winona diocese. If you want my article, I can email you a copy.

  4. Bob:

    One symptom of all that, or perhaps it's a cause, is how under-resourced diaconate formation, especially on-going formation, is in most dioceses.


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