Things Seen and Unseen: A Catholic Theologian's Notebook

Overview

From Lawrence Cunningham, Christianity editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions, comes this captivating collection of personal notes, memories, reflections, and daily epiphanies from the life of a beloved Catholic theologian and longtime editor of Commonweal's "Booknotes" column.

For most of his professional life, University of Notre Dame professor Lawrence Cunningham has kept notebooks filled with memories, ideas, and reflections on ...

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Overview

From Lawrence Cunningham, Christianity editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions, comes this captivating collection of personal notes, memories, reflections, and daily epiphanies from the life of a beloved Catholic theologian and longtime editor of Commonweal's "Booknotes" column.

For most of his professional life, University of Notre Dame professor Lawrence Cunningham has kept notebooks filled with memories, ideas, and reflections on the things that captured his attention in a given day. Now, for the first time, Cunningham has selected and compiled notes from his many volumes to create this book. This window into the mind and heart of an exceptional theologian reveals insightful, spirited, and often wickedly funny commentary on the messy, comic, tragic, and ultimately beautiful realities of the diverse landscape of contemporary Catholicism.

Scholarly, popular, and personal in equal amounts, Things Seen and Unseen considers the legacy of such spiritual figures as Simone Weil, the interplay between religion and pop culture where Christmas and Easter are concerned, and the always-difficult balance between family and work. Cunningham also addresses difficult issues like the quality of Church leadership, the commercialization of spirituality, and the sad contrast between the ideal of Christian charity and the pettiness that can pervade everyday church life. In all things, Cunningham inspires readers with his deep love for and steadfast devotion to the Church.

"Reading Cunningham is like listening to an exceedingly wise, articulate, provocative, funny and, above all, compassionate man who passionately wants you to meet the God he knows so well. Everything he writes is worth reading—often over and over. Highly recommended!" —Rev. James Martin, S.J., Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

"Airplane travel is notoriously awful, but every so often the fates smile and you end up next to a sparkling conversationalist—erudite yet unpretentious, utterly hilarious, the kind of person who even hiccups in epigrams. Lawrence Cunningham is just such a personality, and reading Things Seen and Unseen is like taking the trip of a lifetime in his company. Settle in and enjoy the ride!" —John L. Allen Jr., Senior Correspondent, National Catholic Reporter

"Asked his goal as a teacher Cunningham first says 'to convey a love of learning,' then shyly refers to a well-known text, 'the love of learning and desire for God.' In these journal notes we meet a remarkable teacher who gracefully bears witness to that love and desire." —David J. O'Brien, Professor Emeritus, Holy Cross College

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gleaned from a 20-year-old collection of notebooks containing his reflections, this latest work by Cunningham, a University of Notre Dame theology professor, is filled with short and provocative , if disconnected, tidbits, jottings, thoughts, and opinions. Cunningham's short takes on subjects spanning prayer, atheism, the disappearing independent bookstore, and a scholar's life are written in true notebook style; he sets down an idea and works out his thoughts. He is at his best when he takes an uncommon view, such as saying he is less bothered by "spasms of anti-Catholicism" in the culture than he would be if there were a total lack of interest in his faith. "It would be a sign of irrelevancy," he writes. In opening his private musings to public view, however, Cunningham has left intact an occasional but unfortunate condescending tone that seems out of character for someone who presumably supports a diversity of ideas. For instance, he expresses his distaste for the Catholic Tridentine Mass in a way that is less than respectful of those who prefer this worship form. His references to some of the new Catholic colleges and his treatment of TV reporters are similarly dismissive. Nonetheless, readers cannot help finding his writing thought provoking. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933495255
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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