She begins each chapter with a hymn, indicating immediately that there are concerns beyond the academic at work here. An accomplished theologian, Young interweaves scholarly exactitude with personal memoir to describe and apply ancient patterns of reading scripture to contemporary Christian practice, in a welcome contribution to the ongoing rehabilitation of typological forms of scriptural exegesis characteristic of the Church Fathers. Young looks at five different examples-the experience of the Desert Fathers, patristic understandings of Jacob's wrestling with the angel, the early Church's insistence on the reality of the Incarnation contra
Docetism, exile as a mark of the Church epitomized in Augustine's City of God
, and the way themes of longing and fulfillment reveal some of the early Fathers' views of body, soul, and the nature of the human person. Each historical or biblical survey, in Young's hands, yields a motif-exile and suffering, ascetic struggle, the sacramentality of matter, human weakness and brokenness as potentially revelatory of the presence of Christ-that she illuminates by examples from her own life and ministry. She intimately knows the brokenness of which she speaks: for forty years she has cared for a son with severe learning disabilities, and has been deeply involved with Jean Vanier's L'Arche communities. Such suffering, and her respect for scholarly substance, bars the possibility of the saccharine from infecting her outline of the spiritual life, yet her personal narratives are appropriate and affecting.
An Eighth Day View:
It is profoundly difficult, says Frances Young, "to live with our vulnerability and mortality--how we question and rebel, as we are overwhelmed by grief and distress." Offering both a realistic view of the human condition and the wonderful gift of grace that brings hope of transformation, Young challenges the culture that believers have assimilated. Drawing upon her personal experiences and her knowledge of Scripture, ancient Christianity, and the great hymns of faith, Young offers this academic yet deeply pastoral guide for thinking and living as a Christian. Students of early Christianity, seminarians, pastors, and serious readers will appreciate this insightful look at how acceptance of disability can bring blessing in the lives of believers.