Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith by Darrel E. Berg, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan

I am currently reading the Reverend Darrel E. Berg, A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1965.

In the chapter "Not for Sale", Darrel E. Berg refers to Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer as a role model for his ministry as man morally "not for sale", who turned his back on riches to be a medical missionary in Africa:
"A man who 'has it made' ministers to those who have no claim on him."
-- Darrel E. Berg, A Piece of Blue Sky: The Dynamics of Faith

What does it mean to be "not for sale" morally? Darrel addresses not only his own congregation, but the congregations of all churches:
"[W]e need to remember that the greatest testing may come to us after we have gotten what we wanted....Then it is that the King of Sodom comes making his approach, appealing to our selfishness, "Keep the spoil for yourself, keep your money for yourself, keep your prestige for yourself; don't risk it for those who don't deserve it. Keep your schools to yourselves, and your churches, your clubs and your neighborhoods." That is the way the King of Sodom talks, and if we listen to him we sometimes sell all that we are to him.

The great battles are not the military, political or business battles, but the moral battles. Abraham won a surprising victory over the forces of the ancient King Chedorloamer, but it was not more important than his victory over the King of Sodom on the way home. In the conquest, he showed that all that he stood for was unique and sacred and not for sale.

It was important for us to win over the Nazi, but it would be a shame for us to have won that struggle and then fail to win the moral struggle with racial injustice, crime and corruption in which we are now involved. It is important for us to win the battle to make a living, but it is even more important for us to win the battle to be what we are called to be. It was important for Samson to defeat the Philistines, but it was a shame that on the way home he had to fall prey to Delilah. It is important for us to win the argument with the Communists, but it would be sad if we lost our souls to Sodom before we could carry home the trophy."
Indeed, the Nazis and the Communists have by and large been defeated, but are "we in America" losing the trophy on our way home? by filling our coffers more and more at the expense of our neighbors? by opposing health care for all? by keeping our spoils of the battle to make a living only for ourselves?

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Not Awarded? So We Award the BookPundit Fiction Prize for 2012 to Nele Neuhaus

No Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2012?
No problem.

How about an alternative reward for Nele Neuhaus, Germany's best-selling crime novelist?

As written at Agence Hoffman:
"Nele Neuhaus is the most successful German crime writer. She took the bestseller lists by storm with SCHNEEWITTCHEN MUSS STERBEN/Snow White must die and WER WIND SÄT.*

Nele Neuhaus' gripping novels are set in the Taunus mountains, where the author lives."
* We add here our footnote translation of "Wer Wind Sät" as "If You Sow Wind", based on the German phrase that whoever sows wind, will reap a whirlwind.

So we herewith award The BookPundit Fiction Prize for 2012 to Nele Neuahus, who writes "Taunus, Germany-based" complex crime novels in German dealing with modern topics such as wind energy and environmental politics, for example, which she then weaves into the magically interlaced substance of her marvelous criminal mystery novels. The results are outstanding.

This award, by the way, is not connected with any other benefit other than this simple recognition of her excellent book writing.

We initially became aware of the works of Nele Neuhaus after asking at the local library what novels were currently being borrowed the most and was told "the crime series of books of Nele Neuhaus". Well, so we loaned out a book.

Her books are a series of crime squad investigations led by Inspector Oliver von Bodenstein and his colleague Pia Kirchhoff. The books are well researched and the author works together with real crime investigation professionals to get the crime details right. A truly great, almost natural gift for writing adds the rest.

Our own bookseller regards Tiefe Wunde ("Deep Wounds") as the best book by Nele Neuhaus thus far and it is the third book in the series. Google Translator translates the short description of Tiefe Wunde at as follows:
"The 92-year-old Holocaust survivor David Joshua Goldberg is killed at his home in the Taunus with a neck shot. At autopsy, the doctor makes a strange discovery: Goldberg's arm bears the remains of a blood group tattoo, as it was customary for members of the SS. Then ... two more murders [occur], executions. What mystery linked the victims to each other? The investigations lead ... Chief Inspector Oliver Bodenstein and his colleague Pia Kirchhoff far into the past ...[to] East Prussia in January 1945 ... 
Nearly 200 enthusiastic readers ... on 22 August 2009, [experienced] the book launch of 'Deep Wounds' at the Kempinski Hotel in Königstein [in the Taunus]."
Well, if you read German, you are lucky, because you can enjoy the Neuhaus crime novels. We assume the publisher will bring English-language versions soon, but we can not guarantee it.

Maybe the best thing they could do this year was not to award the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. They would have missed Neuhaus anyway.

No Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Shows the State of America: Conflict Rather than Cooperation and Compromise

Maureen Corrigan has her version of the story at The Washington Post in Pulitzer’s no decision on fiction prize exposes flaw in process - The Washington Post.

There are many good books and authors out there.

The flaw in the process is internal politics, an ailment that pervades America at the moment, giving conflict priority and neglecting cooperation and compromise.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

E-Book Market in Germany Hobbled by Cultural Resistance

Aaron Wiener has the story at Spiegel Online News International in

'We Read Best on Paper':
Cultural Resistance Hobbles German E-Book Market

Crossposted from LawPundit.

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