Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much. We just sprawled about exhaustedly, with home-made cigarettes sticking out of our scrubby faces.
Plot[ edit ] The book is an account of the memories and legacy of John Ames as he remembers his experiences of his father and grandfather to share with his son. All three men share a vocational lifestyle and profession as Congregationalist ministers in Gilead, Iowa.
John Ames describes his vocation as "giving you a good basic sense of what is being asked of you and also what you might as well ignore", explaining that your vocation is something both hard to fulfill and hard to obtain. Ames's father was a Christian pacifistbut his grandfather was a radical abolitionist who carried out guerrilla actions with John Brown before the American Civil Warserved as a chaplain with the Union forces in that war, and incited his congregation to join up and serve in it; as Ames remarks, his grandfather "preached his people into the war.
Thereafter he was given the distinction that his right side was holy or sacred in some way, that it was his link to commune with God, and he was notorious for a piercing stare with the one eye he had left.
The grandfather's other eccentricities are recalled in his youth: The true character and intimate details of the father are revealed in context with anecdotes regarding the grandfather, and mainly in the search for the grave of the grandfather.
One event that is prevalent in the narrator's orations is the memory of receiving 'communion' from his father at the remains of a Baptist church, burned by lightning Ames recalls this as an invented memory adapted from his father breaking and sharing an ashy biscuit for lunch.
In the course of the novel, it quickly emerges that Ames's first wife, Louisa, died while giving birth to their daughter, Rebecca a. Angeline who also died soon after. Ames reflects on the death of his family as the source of great sorrow for many years, in contrast and with special reference to the growing family of the Rev.
Boughton, local Presbyterian minister and Ames's dear and lifelong friend. Eventually Ames baptizes Lila and their relationship develops, culminating in her proposal to him. As Ames writes his memoirs, Boughton's son, John Ames Boughton Jackreappears in the town after leaving it in disgrace twenty years earlier, following his seduction and abandonment of a girl from a poverty-stricken family near his university.
The daughter of this relationship died poor and uncared-for at the age of three, despite the Boughton family's well-intended but unwelcome efforts to look after the child. Young Boughton, the apple of his parents' eye but deeply disliked by Ames, seeks Ames out; much of the tension in the novel results from Ames's mistrust of Jack Boughton and particularly of his relationship with Lila and their son.
It is implied that Jack's understanding with Lila lies in their common sense of tragedy as she prepares for the death of Ames, who has given her a security and stability she has never known before.
Ames's struggles are illustrated by numerous quotations from the Bible, from theologians especially Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religionand from philosophers, especially the atheist Feuerbachwhom Ames greatly respects.
Throughout the novel, Ames details a reverential awe for the transcendental pathos in the small personal moments of happiness and peace with his wife and son and the town of Gilead, despite the loneliness and sorrow he feels for leaving the world with things undone and unsolved. He is able to revel in the beauty of the world around him and takes the time to appreciate and engage with these small wonders at the end of his life.
In this way the novel teaches the importance of stepping back and enjoying present realities. Ames marvels in the every day and commonplace and wishes this attitude for his son, also.
He proclaims his desire for his son "to live long and Ames takes the time to be fully present and intentional in everything that he does, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
An example of this from the novel is towards the beginning on page 5 when he passes two young men joking around and laughing with one other on the street and Ames is filled with a sense of awe at the beauty of such a simple expression of friendship and joy.
In this way Ames sees the allure in both the ordinary and mundane as well as the tragic.A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology Phillip Cary, Editor. Pro Ecclesia is the theology journal of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical r-bridal.com publishes academically rigorous articles on biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal topics, aiming to serve the church (and thus be pro ecclesia), promote its ecumenical unity (and thus be catholic) and speak the truth about the.
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