This is one of those reviews where one will clearly see that a reviewer is not required to write a positive review. You will find most of my reviews are not overly critical and are usually generous and positive. I can typically find something to glean from any book…except this one. I was extremely excited to read this book. Much of my passion in research has been in the area of recovering a fuller understanding and practice of Eucharistic theology in the Church. My concern has been that in many churches, the Sacramental Meal has become nothing more than an ancient ritual devoid of any modern application.
This book, by Nora Gallagher, attempts to answer many of the questions concerning Holy Communion. It comes highly recommended by Brian McLaren whom I have a tremendous amount of respect for (I especially enjoyed “A New Kind of Christian” and “A Generous Orthodoxy”).
Nora writes from her own deep appreciation and reverence for Holy Communion as an experienced lay person. Her personal stories are to be commended as is her conversational tone throughout the book. There were some shining moments where I found myself reflecting on this transformational means of grace and the effect it has had on my life and faith.
However, I feel this book failed to achieve its main goal. Apart from finding at least one error in paragraph formatting (tsk tsk Thomas Nelson), I felt like I was dissecting run-on sentences more than processing information. More often than not, I found Gallagher’s arguments to be poorly developed or supported. She took the opportunity of this book to argue some theological biases that had little or nothing to do with her subject matter and tried to loosely tie them together. And while I appreciate her deep devotion and appreciation for Holy Communion, I find her Sacramental Theology largely undeveloped.
This book left me wanting something, and I am certainly not inclined to recommend it to anyone else.
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