The Courage to See

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Member Reviews

Garrett has put together a really lovely collection of quotes, verses, and prayers. Pulled from works of classic literature and modern literary fiction, each quote is allowed to stand on its own and gives the reader a chance to savor the profound thoughts of men and women thru the past several centuries. This would make an excellent graduation gift, and is suited to many other occasions. It is also a great way to expose people to different writers without them having to tackle a whole novel. If the samples interest you, then you will seek out more by each of these.
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Devotionals are meant to be brief, simple, but deeply insightful. They are there to reach out to a wide group of people, especially people of faith, believers on a pilgrimage, or those struggling to make sense between what they believe, what they experience, and how to live. We all need insights for living. We also need courage to live and to go forth especially to places where we have never gone before. The title of this book helps us do exactly that. As we develop inner courage to see, it is hoped that we will enter into the world without feeling being left alone, but to know that God is with us at all times.

Containing a year's supply of devotionals, this book helps us with a daily page filled with literary quotes, Scripture passage, and a prayer. The authors are acutely aware that good books will challenge us with a story to charm us, a thought to grip us, or a phrase to challenge us. It is a great way to escape into a book that captures our imaginations. Books shape us and our thinking. With this conviction, authors Garrett and Fountain shares a literary gem each day, followed by a Scripture text to accompany the quote. The page ends with a prayer to maintain our reflection heavenward. There are many inspiring works from Christian writers such as Wendell Berry, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, CS Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Brennan Manning, Kathleen Norris, Marilynne Robinson, Dorothy Sayers, etc. Other writers include works from Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, David Henry Thoreau, and even JK Rowling!


Many devotionals focus on a story or an illustration before trying to connect with a chosen Scripture text. This book takes a different direction. Using a powerful paragraph from a book that has impacted the authors, the associated Scripture passage either affirms a particular aspect of that passage or gives a contrasting image of what the Bible says about that particular part of life. Interestingly, many of the literary passages come from poems, novels, and creative prose. They remind me that many works of fiction portray truths powerfully. Conversely, some works of non-fiction may appear relevant but ultimately unrealistic. Thus, I appreciate the authors for highlighting a powerful truth from a work of fiction to compare and contrast with a Bible passage. The title "Courage to See" is a reminder that the pen is mightier than the sword. This is exactly what the Word of God is about. Eternal. Empowering. Encouraging. There are themes of sorrow and joy; hope and promise; love and light; and many aspects about spirituality and relationships between the divine and humanity. What I like most about the book is the way it slows us down to ponder on the meaning behind the words. One quote often attributed to Pablo Picasso is this: "The Purpose of Life Is to Discover Your Gift. The Meaning of Life Is to Give Your Gift Away." This book helps us reflect on life from both angles of purpose and meaning. This alone is worth the price of this book.

Greg Garrett is professor of English at Baylor University and Theologian in Residence at the American Cathedral. Sabrina Fountain writes on art and culture.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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This book of devotionals contains quotes and short snippets of text from literature, along with scripture from the Bible, for daily reading. The introduction to the book is quite good and gives you a lot of ideas to sink your teeth into. I liked the concept of pairing literature with scripture, but I found it difficult to get the full meaning out of the literature passages without the context of the work.
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Honest advice for reaching your full potential.  This advice is presented in easy to follow language that can be broken up and applied in pieces at a time.
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I usually end my reviews by writing: “I received an advance digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.”  Instead, I want to start by writing that. I just finished this book, and I immediately went to Amazon to pre-order it for a friend. I highly recommend this book.

The cover says “daily inspiration from great literature.” I love to share encouraging quotes with my high school daughter each day, and I thought this book would be a good source of new material. Instead, I found so much more. 

What I love about this book is that each daily inspiration from great literature is tied to a bible verse. It is incredible the way the quotes are so beautifully set to complement the bible. These literature quotes are not the common ones you see everywhere. Garrett and Fountain have obviously done some thorough research to find these gems. Twain, Hemingway, L’Engle, Steinbeck, Alcott – they are all here. More great writers are listed on the back cover. 

I worked my way through the book fairly quickly, but I am now anxious to go back and savor each day individually – quote, bible verse, and prayer. I often blog about faith, family, and my own little patch of happiness at www.Patch405.com. I’m sure The Courage to See will frequently find its way into my blogging thoughts.
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