Re: Jack Hickman Cult Shoresh Yashi
Date: November 06, 2007 08:48AM
Hi Gerry. Peace to you. I'll continue here with issues related to the Fellowship/Community in 1973-83.
Books Widely Used in the Community
The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was a reference text for Jesus Book class (c. 1974-75). I thought highly of the book when I first read it. I returned to the book years later, after the scandal, and could not stand its pietist sentiments. This is not unique; I forced myself to read The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, and some of the Bruderhof’s Eberhard Arnold, which I also could not take. It is probably a combination of my scientific training and disillusionment from the experience of radical discipleship. I like other writings by Bonhoeffer, and I'm still attracted to radical discipleship in some form.
I never read Jesus and the Zealots (published 1967), which formed the scholarly basis for the idea in the Community that Jesus was political. Recent books which cite Brandon (Ched Myers, Binding the Strong Man; John H. Yoder, The Politics of Jesus; Richard Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence) give Brandon credit for introducing the political element, but reject the simplistic understanding of both him and his opponents. I believe Jesus was political in much the way that Gandhi was.
The annual lectures of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik were organized by Pinchas Peli and published as On Repentance (1980). They were widely used in the Community. This is an extremely good book, halakhic and ethical, which I return to from time to time.
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, contains an account of the author’s experience in a concentration camp, followed by the theory of logotherapy. The book was used among the youth and young adults in 1981, and I have re-read it since. It is an excellent resource for responding to the shock of the scandal. I agree with Frankl that the Will to Meaning is more powerful than what Freud postulated.
After the scandal, the best seller Holy Blood, Holy Grail was cited as explaining the lineage of Jesus. I read the first 100 pages because I was asked for my opinion of the book by another member of the Community. The book is worthless. Umberto Ecco ridicules this genre in Foucault’s Pendulum, a novel I found uncomfortably reminiscent of thinking in the post-scandal Community. (Update: The Da Vinci Code, similar to Holy Blood Holy Grail, has since been published and made into a movie.)