Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Patience: How We Wait upon the World

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Patience: How We Wait upon the World

Article excerpt

Patience: How We Wait Upon the World. By David Baily Harned. Boston, MA: Cowley Publications, 1997. xiv + 191 pp. $12.95 (paper).

I'm a haphazard reader, prone to redeeming odd moments in trains, planes, buses and waiting rooms with books and articles. David Baily Harned's Patience: How We Wait Upon the World recently filled a small niche in my overstuffed brief case and many an odd moment. And while one might wish for a cozy, quiet study, the active routines of daily living may be the most fortuitous context for this timely little book.

The much-lamented lack of civility, erosion of the family, and other corrosive elements that pelt each day with their acid rain are symptoms of profound malaise. Every suggested cause and remedy only exacerbates. Most annoying is the usual spiritual prescription of retreat-as though separating ourselves from ordinary reality and its demands actually holds any promise of cure for those of us who must, ultimately, return to this noxious, infectious maelstrom. David Baily Harned restores hope and balance by revisiting the ancient and venerable virtue of patience where, with the skillful grace of the gifted teacher he is, we are introduced to a familiar as if for the first time.

The problem with Patience is that so few of us have ever met her. We've heard so much about her from so many sources for so many years, we only think we know her. In my repository of mental images, Patience looks like a cross between Whistler's mother and Janet Reno-a woman of sturdy features and plain grooming, prone to clothes of a simple cut and dark color, either seated erect or, in motion, purposeful and efficient. She's built for endurance, and is the kind of person you want around when there's trouble. Most of the time she sits erect in her rocker, but unmoving, exuding a kind of alert passivity. But when the going really gets rough, she can stand full face and eye to eye with trouble and, with no trace of affect, hold the line.

Harned allows us a richer experience of Patience. He shares her history with us and gently corrects our caricatures, rendering her fully dimensional. Patience is in many respects endowed with the characteristics of our imaginings. But there is more, far more, to this virtue-the virtue, Harned posits, without which the other virtues are unattainable. His introduction reaches deep into philosophical history and brings us right up to the moment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.