Views from a Hermitage

Views from a Hermitage : Theological Reflections on Religion in Today's World

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This book consists of a collection of about one hundred short essays on the subject of the influence, for better or for worse, of religion in today's world. They were written by a retired Catholic priest and theologian who, beginning in 1981, left academia to live a more strictly contemplative life in a cabin in Michigan's north woods. Selected from about two hundred such works written over seven years' time (late 1999 to mid-2007), the essays in this book have been rearranged into ten sub-topics ranging from faith and belief, science and religion, war and peace, ethics and politics, and Jesus and Christianity, to ever-mounting concerns over the environment. Nevertheless, within each broad subject the chronological sequence and development of the author's views has also been retained. Originally inspired by both the example and the advice of the late monk and writer Thomas Merton-although he makes no claims to being a poet-the author, who once specialized in the thought of Teilhard de Chardin, nevertheless emulates the pastoral example of Merton's favorite theologian, Karl Barth.
It is Barth who is said to have written his sermons at his kitchen table with a Bible at one hand and a newspaper at the other. It is in this same spirit of living a contemplative life that is still deeply engaged with the world that the author shares his thoughts with anyone who cares about the future of our planet and the human race.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739125494
  • 9780739125496

Review quote

Father Kropf, a priest hermit living in Michigan, has collected some of his many reflections on a wide range of topics. From his solitary location he has learned an important truth, namely, that questions are often better than answers. That is a truth immortalized in the Book of Job. Readers of these brief essays will obtain the grace of puzzling along with this gifted writer. Wonder, after all, as the ancients say, is the beginning of wisdom. -- Lawrence S. Cunningham, University of Notre Dame In these essays, Richard Kropf shows that it is possible to think beyond doctrines and traditions, while honoring them, and bring a distinctive, forward-looking religious perspective to many of the issues of our day-from those related directly to matters of faith and belief, through issues that arise between religion and the sciences, to those, such as war, poverty and environmental degradation, that face the whole society. -- John J. Compton, Vanderbilt University From his hermit's perch in the north woods of Michigan, Richard Kropf casts a discerning eye on Church and world. This rich collection of pithy observations on topics ranging from dogma to Darfur, from atheism to astrophysics, is filled with a wisdom nurtured by solitude. Its fresh perspectives will provide insight and illumination for any reader. -- Patrick F. O'Connell, editor of The Merton Seasonal Composed with the goal of exploring the influence of religious thought, for better or worse, on many aspects of contemporary life in this world, the essays address real problems that any concerned person must confront if he or she is to honestly lead a conscious and intelligent life. They are written within the context of if not strict Catholic doctrine then a more general Christianity. Kropf's strength is humanistic, ecumenical, liberal, and catholic-in the broadest and original sense of that word. -- Anthony Jenckes Morse, from the foreword
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About Richard W. Kropf

Richard W. Kropf was ordained a priest in 1958 for the Diocese of Lansing and later went on to earn doctorate degrees in theology from the University of Ottawa and the Universite St-Paul in Canada. The author of about a half-dozen books on theology and spirituality, he currently resides in the northern part of Michigan's lower peninsula.
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Table of contents

Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Introduction Part 3 Part 1: Thoughts on Faith Part 4 Part 2: Science and Religion Part 5 Part 3: War and Peace Part 6 Part 4: Religion, Ethics, and Politics Part 7 Part 5: Jesus and Christianity Part 8 Part 6: The Church and the Churches Part 9 Part 7: Islam and the Middle East Part 10 Part 8: Spirituality Part 11 Part 9: Philosophical Musings Part 12 Part 10: The Environment
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