Filed under dewey decimal project

Dewey Decimal Project: 317.3 PET Unlocking the Census with GIS

Sometimes in thScreen Shot 2017 02 04 at 19 55 10e Dewey Decimal project I end up with bad choices. In this instance, the 310s are statistics. There were a couple of almanacs and this book. Then, for added bonus, I lost the book while I was reading it. I ended up buying a used copy in excellent condition to finish reading it. The library still charged me for the lost book with the return of the replacement copy, but they were kind enough to not charge me the restocking fee.

The book itself is interesting, but has the flaw that it was geared around 2000 census data and the technology available at the time. 

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Dewey Decimal Project: 306.235 FLA Girl Land

As the father of a young daughter aNewImagend a member of a family which went 59 years without a female birth before my daughter’s birth, girls are a bit of a mystery to me. No sisters, no nieces, and only a single female cousin who was over a decade older than me so I knew her more as an adult than as a girl.

Reading this book was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The central thesis was one that should have been obvious for me: The development of sexual maturity in a girl as she becomes a woman marks a social and physical threat to the girls, particularly from men. 


Dewey Decimal Project 291.9 ZEI Cults

ThereNewImage are a few places where the Dewey Decimal System betrays its Victorian origins. The 200s are one of these. 220–289 are dedicated to Christianity and the Bible. All other religions are given 290–299. So faced with the full panoply of world religions outside of Christianity, I ended up choosing this slender book on cults aimed at teenagers with short attention spans.

The treatment is a bit cursory and it’s been a while since I read it so I don’t remember the details very well, but I think that the book failed to really define quite what a cult was and included in its ranks of cults some groups that are arguably not cults at all.


Dewey Decimal Project: 282.092 MAN Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and their Son

NewImageAll it really took to hook me on the book was the title. A priest and a nun get married and have kids? Right up my alley.

Where the big surprise came in (and perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise), was the fact that the Boston priest sexual abuse scandal came into play in the story as well. Overall, this is a brilliant and wonderfully detailed account of Catholicism in America in the 1950s through 1970s. The whole of the story, with Manseau’s father’s quixotic effort to have both his priesthood and his marriage recognized by the Church makes for a fascinating read.


Dewey Decimal Project: 270.1 DAM When the Church Was Young

NewImage.pngAfter reading, The Gospel of the Lord, I was really curious to read more of the church fathers and eagerly awaited my arrival at this part of the Dewey Decimal system. Of course, dealing with the vagaries of selecting books from the local public library, my choices aren’t always as broad as I would like, so rather than having the option of primary sources to read—aside from St Augustine, with whom I already have at least a passing familiarity, I instead got this book which is mostly summary and occasional quotation.

D’Ambrosio is writing from the perspective of someone deeply imbued with the spirit of a Catholic apologist. With each Catholic father who’s included in here, some aspect of contemporary Catholic doctrine is justified as originating from the earliest days of the Church. While as a Catholic, I’m inclined to agree, the manner in which D’Ambrosio approaches his task felt rather offputting.

 Even so, within the limits of what it was, I found this an enjoyable read and saw it also potentially a good source for figuring uot which of the fathers would be of interest to start with,


Dewey Decimal Project: 262.13 PHA Heirs of the Fisherman

I NewImage expected something a bit different than this. There’s an awful lot of cut-and-paste to fill out the pages of the book with the full texts of the last few popes’ wills and while the accounts of the behind-the-scenes of the elections were intriguing, they ultimately were a bit disappointing. 

When I was doing a bit of research on Pham, I found that he’s apparently a bit of a controversial figure. The author photo on the book jacket shows him in clericals, but he has apparently left the priesthood and has a tendency to offer up inflated credentials to support his expertise as a commentator on a number of subjects.

If I remember the book correctly, there’s some historical/biographical information on a number of popes in this book as well which managed to make an interesting subject rather dry and dull.


Dewey Decimal Project: 253.252 AND Priests in Love

AnNewImage Australian book, Jane Anderson has a definite opinion on priestly celibacy—viz, she ’s opposed to it as a matter of principle, In this book Anderson is looking at cases of priests who have chosen to remain in the priesthood while simultaneously also entering into romantic relationships. For the most part (or in all cases? I don’t remember) these relationships included a sexual component. 

It’s been a while since I’ve read the book so I don’t remember a lot of specifics about it now, although I remember it being simultaneously fascinating and frustrating. 


Dewey Decimal Project: 241 CAM 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch

When my wife was an undergraduate , she and a group ofNewImage her friends decided to do an event with the lure being Tony Campolo giving a talk. Of course, Campolo was not remotely within their budget so they came up with the idea of asking if Campolo would record a video message that they could play. When the person who was responsible for talking to Campolo called him and described the event, Campolo responded, “That sounds fun. Can I come?” The person talking to Campolo reiterated that they had no budget for him. “That’s fine. Can I come?”

And so Tony Campolo, on his own dime, came to her college and instead of a bait and switch promise of a Tony Campolo talk, those present had Tony Campolo himself.

When she told me this story, I’d never heard of Tony Campolo. He’s still a bit on the margins of my consciousness given that I’m a Catholic and he’s an evangelical, but he falls outside the stereotypical politically conservative worldview of evangelicals and instead holds rather progressive views (he most recently intruded into my consciousness with a brief online piece condemning the election of Orange Hitler).

This book, while a bit old and focused on some aspects of culture that seem settled (for example, “Can Christians undergo psychotherapy?”), provides an interesting insight into Campolo’s worldview. I suspect that in many instances his point of view has become more progressive than is revealed in this book, but it’s still a very clear look at what it means to be an evangelical liberal and how his religion impacts his political and cultural perspective.


Dewey Decimal Project: 230.0732 The Collar

An amazing book. It was captivating to read about theseNewImage not-so-young men on the road to the priesthood. Englert, after a number of attempts, managed to find a Catholic seminary willing to let him spend a year following the students who attended. Where he ended up was a non-traditional seminary, one catering to “second career” would-be priests, older men who had lived secular lives, in some cases having married and had children before their wives’ deaths, before answering a call to the priesthood.

The brokenness of so many of the seminarians here is fascinating to read. The blind musician who has doubts about celibacy, the ultra-traditionalists who find aspects of academic theology scandalous, the seminarian who discovers after the death of his mentor, an elderly priest with whom he had been sharing an apartment, that the man had a trove of gay pornography hidden away.

Englert does a good job of drawing the multiple characters in his book, and although there was some confusion for me due to two similarly-named seminarians (albeit men in rather different circumstances), the multiple strands of narrative are handled well. I can see this being inspiration for a nice big thick book of multiple characters, a la, Ship of Fools.


Dewey Decimal Project: 226 BIR The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus

The Gospel of the LordThere is a tendency for writing about the Bible to fall into two disjoint camps: there are the literalists who take the naïve view that the text is to be read without concern for its original context or creation, who end up reducing Biblical studies to an absurdity since the literal reading is untenable, not just in reading the creation account, but in dealing with the frequent inconsistencies that have resulted from the texts having been compiled from a variety of traditions and intentions. On the other side of the coin, the textual critics will consider the origins and context of the Biblical texts, but seem to have forgotten that this is the foundational text of much Western religion. One pole of this can be found in the Jesus Seminar which denied the historicity of the eschatalogical in the Gospels and was skeptical of the miracles.

Bird takes a different tack here, looking to understand the Gospels in context, but at the same time never forgetting their religious significance. Bird supplements the historical-critical perspective of the Gospels that I’d encountered elsewhere with information from the early Church Fathers do help provide full understanding and context for how the canon was formed and why we ended up with the four Gospels that we have. Perhaps had I had a less eclectic education in matters theological, this would be familiar ground, but this served as an excellent introduction to being able to better understand how to approach the Gospels.