Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Vows Book: Anglican Teaching on the Vows of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity

Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Vows Book: Anglican Teaching on the Vows of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity

Article excerpt

The Vows Book: Anglican Teaching on the Vows of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity. By Clark Berge. Mt. Sinai, NY: Vest Pocket Publications, 2014. Pp. 141. $15.95.

This practical book, written in the thin-column style of Peter Maurin's Easy Essays, shows how the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity can shape lay and religious life. The six brief chapters detail the nature and purpose of the vows, describe various prayer practices, and contend that vowed life is best expressed in loving service of God and neighbor.

In Berge's view, obedience involves listening and responding to the Holy Spirit, who speaks through Scripture, tradition, others, conscience, and the natural world. Poverty is the voluntary choice to follow the example of Jesus, which frees one to serve others (especially the poor) with joy. Chastity helps married and celibate people live distinctively, love rightly, and further the kingdom of God. The vows take root and transform one through prayer and acts of service.

The book has three main strengths. First, it appeals to personal stories and the lives of exemplars to show how the vows form character, foster spirituality, and encourage social action. …

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