Item description for Leaves From the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic by Reinhold Niebuhr & Martin E. Marty...
Overview Two generations of clergy have grasped this book as a manual of arms, a book of consolation, an example for imitation . . . Niebuhr here is the small town member of a provincial church body finding his way in the jostling metropolis of Detroit, cutting a path beyond parachialism into ecumenical and interfaith relations. No one prepres a ministry-bound child for such transitions, and theological schools at best talk about them from a distance. here is someone nurtured in conservative Protestantism having to deal with labor leaders, civic professionals, and men and women who share little of his regard for the cross of Jesus Christ.
Renowned theologian Reinhold Niebuhr began his career as pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit, Michigan, where he served from 1915-1928. "Leaves From the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic" is Niebuhr's account of the frustrations and joys he experienced during his years at Bethel. Addressed to young ministers, this book provides reflections and insights for those engaged in the challenging yet infinitely rewarding occupation of pastoral ministry. Niebuhr's powerful book remains as useful and relevant today as it was eighty years ago.
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Studio: Westminster / John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.28" Width: 4.68" Height: 0.43" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Sep 19, 1990
Publisher Westminster / John Knox Press
ISBN 0664251641 ISBN13 9780664251642
Availability 0 units.
More About Reinhold Niebuhr & Martin E. Marty
ELISABETH SIFTON, an editor and book publisher for forty years, is the author of The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War. She lives in New York City and in Princeton, New Jersey.
Reinhold Niebuhr was born in 1892 and died in 1971.
Reviews - What do customers think about Leaves From the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic?
"Better-than-Church!" Nov 7, 2007
This book gave me hope when I had almost lost it. I came to the end of my seminary education and I was ready to throw in the towel. Once you're on the inside of the church, once you necessarily lose all those false illusions about what ministry is really about, you may find you don't have the stomach for it. I look at the church, and how slow things change, and I wonder if there is any hope at all. Niebuhr honestly lays out his own transition from green seminarian to seasoned pastor of hope and grace, radical, but real. It was a breath of grace and peace...just what I needed.
Reinhold Niebuhr's genius is simply unparalleled Jan 9, 2007
I am a HUGE Niebuhr fan, and I strong suggest that anyone interested in politics, economics, social philosophy and/or theology should pick up as many of his works as possible. This book was a real treat for me, to get into peer into his mind in those oh so important formative years as a pastor in Detroit, WOW!
Even when he's just writing random thoughts on the passing scene, he's a fantastic writer. Here you have a demonstration of Bonhoeffer's views of the true Christian life which must "share in the problems of secular life, and teach all men what it means to live in Christ". You see the greater and greater emphasis on the role of repentence and the way Christ's oh so rigorous ethic acts as a judgment on all human behavior as time goes on. This will all become so important as he turns his mind to writing his great theological and social works in the 30's and 40's.
This book is a fairly easy read, none to technical, and relatively short, you can probably read it in 3 or 4 sittings. Pay attention to the way Niebuhr's doubts about his own position become theological fare, informing the way he thinks about theology and life in toto.
A huge help through the early years of ministry Dec 21, 2004
This little gem was probably my favorite book from seminary. Niebuhr takes you with him on the difficult journey through the first years of his parish ministry and teaches you how to think theologically about really practical dilemmas that arise as a clergyperson. My favorite thing about the book is that it is not written as a memoir, but in the moment, so you don't have an old, brilliant theologian reflecting on his years in ministry, but rather a young, brilliant pastor who doesn't know all the answers and doesn't pretend to. I feel like Reinhold has become a close friend though the end of seminary and my first year working in the church, because he gives words to and insight into many of the struggles I have had.
Green, alive and leafy May 27, 2003
Reinhold Niebuhr's small book, Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic, is perhaps his most famous and popular book. It has informed and helped to shape the lives and ministries of seminarians, educators, ministers and other prophetic and ethical people since it was first published early in this century. Niebuhr recounts with astonishing honesty the difficulties facing those who would do ministry, and act ethically, in the church today. His criticism is not held back from any sacred topics.
`I make no apology for being critical of what I love. No one wants a love which is based upon illusions, and there is no reason why we should not love a profession and yet be critical of it.'
Niebuhr talks about the shock of coming to realise the limitations of his ministry, going from being a fresh-from-seminary full-of-grace minister to a person confronting another person in the 'real world'. He talks about
`...the difficulty of acting as priest. It is not in your power to determine the use of a symbol. Whether it is a blessing or a bit of superstition rests altogether with the recipient.'
This real world also presents problems. Parishioners tend to ask practical questions, rather than theoretical ones. They ask, Why won't Jesus heal me? Didn't he heal others? It is in the Bible, after all.
`I do believe that Jesus healed people. I can't help but note, however, that a large proportion of his cures were among the demented.'
He talks about the practical limitations of doing ethical ministry and prophesy for the average pulpit preacher.
`I am not surprised that most prophets are itinerants. Critics of the church think we preachers are afraid to tell the truth because we are economically dependent upon the people of our church. There is something in that....'
Finally, Niebuhr comes to have realistic expectations of the church and his own ministry in it.
`The church is like the Red Cross service in war time. It keeps life from degenerating into a consistent inhumanity, but it does not materially alter the fact of the struggle itself. The Red Cross neither wins the war nor abolishes it.'
Niebuhr in this small work has given great insight. Barely 150 short pages of his journal from 1915-1928 as a parish minister--although he became much better known as a philosopher in later years, this book is most likely his best seller, and the one with the most profound day-to-day impact for his readers.
A must-read for anyone with a calling to ministry; a should-read for anyone in a helping and caring profession. It gives insight into how to remain human and fallible in the face of a congregation's (and one's own!) expectations of holiness and godly perfection.
As Applicable Today as When Written Jul 26, 2002
This is a collection of Neibuhrs short essays. Each one stands on its own as a reflection of reality as applicable today as it was decades ago. I like it so much I am rationing it, reading one or two essays a day and stopping to think about the lesson in each one. These are sermons that are not "preachy" recognizing the human frailities and what should be expected of us. A book for the ages in my opinion