"The story I am about to tell concerns the human mind's ability to do two quite different things. One is to break things down into their constituent parts and see how they mesh and interact. The other is to join things together so that they tell a story, and to join people together so that they form relationships. The best example of the first is science; of the second, religion. Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean."
The voice of Jonathan Sacks is one of wisdom, reasoned thoughtfulness, passionate conviction tempered by humility, and generous judgement which is neither naive nor cynical. Reading him in books like this is to encounter a man of humane learning whose worldview accommodates diversity of viewpoints, and yet whose intellectual hospitality retains integrity of mind and truthfulness of heart. In my lifetime I judge the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, to be one of very few outstanding religious leaders in Britain. For me, and I may exaggerate ever so slightly, it is like sitting at the feet of Gamaliel, whose own wisdom was to be patient and see whether this, or that, is of God. If it is, it will propser; if not, then why get worked up about is. When someone writes books with titles such as, The Persistence of Faith, The Politics of Hope, The Dignity of Difference, then we hear an essential voice faithfully teaching us things we need to learn, or remember, which have to do with blessing and that lovely word, shalom. As I read this book, I'll likely feel the urge to say more about it here!