Kindness

On Reading Well

Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Eleven

Tenth of December

By George Saunders

 

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 

~Job 6:14


Chapter Eleven of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of Kindness with examples drawn from George Saunders’ Tenth of December.

As Karen wrote

The connection between kindness and kinship helps make sense of the reason for envy being the vice that opposes kindness. Aquinas calls envy “sorrow for another’s good.” Unless the relationship is marred by some dysfunction, it is natural for us to celebrate a family member’s happiness or success. When something good happens to someone in our family, it is like it has happened to us. We share in that good rather than envy it. To seek and celebrate the good for others is then to treat them as family in this way. This is what it means to be kind.

If kindness is so easy and simple, why is it so lacking around us?

On Reading Well

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Love

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Seven
The Death of Ivan Ilych
By Leo Tolstoy

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

~1 Corinthians 13:13


How exactly do we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Chapter Seven of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of love with examples drawn from Leo Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych.  The discussion today distinguishes attributes that are frequently either misunderstood or confused.  Continue reading “Love”

Love

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Seven
The Death of Ivan Ilych
By Leo Tolstoy

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

~1 Corinthians 13:13


You know Cupid, but how about Cupidity?  Chapter Seven of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of love with examples drawn from Leo Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych.  Today we examine lust and love.  Continue reading “Love”

Love

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Seven
The Death of Ivan Ilych
By Leo Tolstoy

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

~1 Corinthians 13:13


Chapter Six of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of love with examples drawn from Leo Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych.  In this continuance of the theological virtues, we are at once expert and amateur. Beyond that, we struggle with adequate tools of expression.   

Continue reading “Love”

Hope

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Six
The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

~Romans 5:3–4


In Chapter Six of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well, the relationship between the man and the boy in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road illuminates the relationship between watchfulness and hope. Here we see the essential element of expectation in its fullest range.
Continue reading “Hope”

Hope

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Six
The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

~Romans 5:3–4


We speak of hope frequently in daily talk.  Its range extends from wishful thinking to profound spirituality.  Chapter Six of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of hope with examples drawn from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  Today we consider the difference between the passion of hope from theological hope.    Continue reading “Hope”

Hope

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Six
The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

~Romans 5:3–4


Chapter Six of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of hope with examples drawn from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  In this continuance of the theological virtues, we consider our future. In many ways, our world seems to be teetering on the edge of apocalypse.    Continue reading “Hope”

Faith

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Five
Silence
By Shusaku Endo

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1


Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is — nor yet so good a Christian.” Is the essence of a man that which he holds in his heart, or more akin to his actions?  Chapter Five of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of faith with examples drawn from Shusaku Endo’s Silence, a novel that raises questions about faith that is hidden.    Continue reading “Faith”

Faith

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Five
Silence
By Shusaku Endo

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1


The Bible has much to say about faith, but what exactly is it?  Chapter Five of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue through a discussion of Shusaku Endo’s Silence.     Continue reading “Faith”

Faith

On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Five
Silence
By Shusaku Endo

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1


Chapter Five of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of faith with examples drawn from Shusaku Endo’s Silence.  In this section, we move to the theological virtues. The novel examines the struggle of Christians who are physically persecuted for their beliefs and the degree to which the virtue of faith is tied to faithfulness and fidelity in lifestyle.    Continue reading “Faith”