Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace

Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace

Miroslav Volf / Jan 24, 2020

Free of Charge Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace We are at our human best when we give and forgive But we live in a world in which it makes little sense to do either one In our increasingly graceless culture where can we find the motivation to give

  • Title: Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace
  • Author: Miroslav Volf
  • ISBN: 9780310265740
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback
  • We are at our human best when we give and forgive But we live in a world in which it makes little sense to do either one In our increasingly graceless culture, where can we find the motivation to give And how do we learn to forgive when forgiving seems counterintuitive or even futile A deeply personal yet profoundly thoughtful book, Free of Charge explores these questiWe are at our human best when we give and forgive But we live in a world in which it makes little sense to do either one In our increasingly graceless culture, where can we find the motivation to give And how do we learn to forgive when forgiving seems counterintuitive or even futile A deeply personal yet profoundly thoughtful book, Free of Charge explores these questions and the further questions to which they give rise in light of God s generosity and Christ s sacrifice for us Miroslav Volf draws from popular culture as well as from a wealth of literary and theological sources, weaving his rich reflections around the sturdy frame of Paul s vision of God s grace and Martin Luther s interpretation of that vision Blending the best of theology and spirituality, he encourages us to echo in our own lives God s generous giving and forgiving A fresh examination of two practices at the heart of the Christian faith giving and forgiving the Archbishop of Canterbury s Lenten study book for 2006 is at the same time an introduction to Christianity Even , it is a compelling invitation to Christian faith as a way of life Miroslav Volf, one of the most celebrated theologians of our day, offers us a unique interweaving of intense reflection, vivid and painfully personal stories and sheer celebration of the giving God I cannot remember having read a better account of what it means to say that Jesus suffered for us in our place Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

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    About "Miroslav Volf"

      • Miroslav Volf

        Miroslav Volf is the Henry B Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith Culture One of the most celebrated theologians of our time, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury , Volf is a leading expert on religion and conflict His recent books include Against the Tide Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities, and Exclusion Embrace A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation winner of the 2002 Grawmeyer Award in Religion.


    170 Comments

    1. this review first appeared on [intraspace]this is a book that i randomly picked up after anna brought it home from the library. looked pretty interesting and was the archbishop of canterbury's official lent 2006 book - who could resist?miroslav volf is apparently a fairly well-known theologian who teaches at yale. this book covers the twin themes of giving and forgiving. the thing that struck me most in the book was volf's description of the common ways that people view God. with regard to givin [...]


    2. Miroslav Volf is one of my favorite writers. His book Exclusion and Embrace might be in my top ten reads of all time, and his work comparing Christian and Muslim understandings of God (Allah: A Christian Response) is fantastic. So I came to this book expecting a lot and I won't say it disappointed, but it was different then what I expected.Exclusion and Embrace was a heavy theological work that cut to the heart of Christian faith, with brilliant insights into Jesus' death and how we ought to liv [...]


    3. I'm confused by my own response to this one. For stretches, I found it quite dull. Then I'd be really into it for a bit. In both cases, I was highlighting more than the typical number of passages. When it was insightful, it was really so, but it wasn't an exciting read, despite being smart and often challenging.The first half of the book, on giving, is a nice bit of Christian philosophy on giving and the gift. It both swats away the work of thinkers like Derrida and Caputo with a quick stroke an [...]


    4. Simply put: this is an amazing work. While I may still consider Exclusion and Embrace his most important work, Volf's writing on forgiveness and giving is his most accessible and, from a pastoral perspective, critical. One will find much here that is helpful and that will provoke deep thought--and perhaps some life-change. I have referred the book to many and think it will be one of those books I have a hard time keeping on my shelf as I have already replaced it once!So if you are wrestling with [...]


    5. I do love to read, and I love to pass along my love of books, but there are very few books that I whole-heartedly recommend. Miraslov Volf’s Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace is one I would not only recommend, I would encourage every person who believes in God to read.Volf is a professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, but this is not an intimidating read. Each of the two sections, giving and forgiving, begins with discussing how God does each. He reminds [...]


    6. His approach to the subject is very personal. He argues that in giving and forgiving we have to follow God's lead. We forgive because God forgives, we forgive without preconditions, because God does. Many of his ideas are personally challenging, and require a lot more introspection and study. A stunning book in my opinion.


    7. Theological yet accessible, Volf enters into the life and response of the Christian life in light of God's giving and forgiving character. This book is rich with context, content, and story to illustrate a life that can be beautifully lived. Volf describes the book as a spiritual journey that exercises his theology. I would agree and highly recommend.


    8. When thinking about grace and forgiveness of others, Volf really focuses on the forgiver, not the person to be forgiven. This book is engaging, and it includes many relevant stories from Volf's life to illustrate how forgiveness can be found, even if the worst of circumstances. He also includes a postlude that answers some of the more significant arguments against the claims made in his book, as a true apologist would. His writing is accessible to all, not just philosophers or those in the world [...]


    9. I highly recommend this book- theology applied to giving and forgiving, thoughtful, spiritual, and real, and written from the voice of Eastern influenced Christianity.


    10. Very honest appraisal of the human character as well as the practices of giving and forgiving. Very good thoughts on the reasons to give and forgive, mainly as a reflection of God as a giver.





    11. The description of this book is apt. He gets a little long-winded at times, but I loved the content. It enriched my understanding of giving and forgiving, and I know I will think about it and go back to it in the future.


    12. Miroslav Volf's Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace is an excellent book.Forgiveness is such a tough issue to both understand and more importantly to practice. There are so many emotional barriers that we struggle with and as a pastor I see people still bound to the hurt that they have received, still trapped by their offender because forgiveness hasn't yet been found.Volf does not shirk the difficult issues, his examples are as heart rending as any - a father for [...]


    13. Short Review: Best books I have read on forgiveness and a very good look at what giving is all about. In someways it felt like two short books tacked together. I know that in Volf's mind they are very intimately connected, but I don't think he quite showed the connection well enough. Regardless, Volf starts with a look at who God and and what God gives to us. The first chapter really sets the stage for the sections on both giving and forgiveness. The giving sections were good, giving is a respon [...]


    14. I skipped through the first big section as I was most interested in reading about forgiveness. It was good and helpful, though as he said, he wrote it for himself. It is very logical with basic ideas set forth and then a number of questions that seem to upset those ideas with Volf answering each one. Basic ideas I thought most helpful were:1. Forgiveness contains both blame/condemnation as well as release/forgiving the debt. You can't forgive without justly condemning. 2. Forgiveness from a huma [...]


    15. 2016: I am still gripped by this book and in many ways Volf is still as engaging and though provoking. I am a little more skeptical against the insistent references to Luther though. I actually have nothing (or not much at least) against Luther, but there are more theologians than him. Golf labours his points fairly much and the first half is a little more repetitive than the second. And it is when it comes to the second half, that of forgiving that I really get gripped. Volf manages to weave hi [...]


    16. Thought-provoking, lovely, and altogether too much smoke.Miroslav Volf is a wonderful writer and a grand thinker. There were several times in this book when he pushed a profound idea across that had me in tears. Divided into two parts, the book deals with giving and forgiving. The two things that will stick with me are the pictures he painted of God the giver and forgiving as condemning sin. He clearly knows his material, but this ends up being a weakness.There is too much going on under the sur [...]


    17. Overview of Chapters Four to Six -- Forgiving The first three chapters are on Giving. They are very helpful and are worth a careful study.The same threads run through the chapters on forgiving. In the chapters on giving, Volf challenges the false gods of God as the "Negotiator" or as "Santa Claus." The corollary in the chapters on forgiving is a dismissal of the false gods as "Judge" or the "Doting Grandparent." Volf moves us to a proclamation of the biblical God who gives and forgives.The God w [...]


    18. Volf's book is simply written, but dense with ideas and content and so does not make for a quick read. As a theologian he does not resort to the general Christian book tendency to illustrate every point from life. There are examples here, from his own family history and from literary sources and from Luther's writings, but there is also much deep reflection about giving and forgiving and their basis in the grace God gives us in Christ. Volf offers a challenging, even impossible, road for the ind [...]


    19. I've worked my way through this book in fits and starts over the past several months which hinders the task of "reviewing" a work. For those who want a brief synopsis of the text, Volf's afterword gives a great 4-point summation of the book's intentions:> To present a "case for Christianity"> To present a particular reading of the Apostle Paul> To present a particular reading (in the Finnish tradition) of Martin Luther> To do so in a way that bends and blends the categories of "theol [...]


    20. I took away three important thoughts from this book: 1) EVERYTHING is a gift from God. Everybody gets everything from God, so I need to stop thinking that everyone else is somehow better - more special - than I am. 2) Telling someone you forgive them is also an accusation. So, it's likely I'm going to anger the person I want to forgive - in order to restore our relationship - in the process. 3) Forgiveness takes place in community. It takes a community to encourage and exemplify forgiveness; for [...]


    21. Five years after the Archbishop of Canterbury recommended this as his choice of books for Lent, I finally read Volf's book. This is a strong and wise book, deeply influenced by Luther, and daring us to think of giving and forgiving in profound and radical ways. Volf describes the Atonement clearly and sensibly. Throughout the book, he illustrates his arguments with examples from a broad range of writers. When Volf says that 'An individual's forgiveness and the state's punishment are compatible'( [...]


    22. First two chapters are great. I have to say that this is an even better "description" of Christianity than Mere Christianity, or at least easier to relate to. Maybe since it's written within my lifetime.The concepts are good, well founded and repeated enough to be remembered. It's a hard read at times, though, too and several places I had to reread multiple times and then just move on because I was caught up in a difficult section. Rereading quickly the second time has been helpful.I think there [...]


    23. This book is on both my "read" and "to-read" shelves. It's one of those slender existential mind-reads like Tillich's "Courage to Be" -- it starts with some simple head nods and leads inexorably to a re-evaluation of the way we lead our lives. What would life be like if we considered everything a gift? The second half deals with forgiveness. We are so far from his model, I'm not sure that we even properly confront people with their wrong acts -- so we have nothing to forgive them for.To sum up, [...]


    24. We just finished reading this book for our covenant group. It's about giving and forgiving. We read it in about 6 weeks and while this initially felt like we'd be rushing through it, it turned out to be a good amount of time to discuss and digest each chapter. I felt like I learned more from the forgiveness chapters than the giving chapters. One thing that sticks in my mind is Volf's counter-argument to the argument that "Forgiving lets the offender off the hook." Volf contends that we in fact h [...]


    25. Very moving, and very profound.I picked up this book based on recommendation, and it is the best book on forgiving and giving that I've ever read I can surely say the words resonated with me very deeply.From the perspective of a layman Christian, this book helped me go further deep in to my own heart and helped me understand it better. Also, it seemed as if this book is a mirror which showed what my heart was made of.This book will also change you how you behave in relating to others This boo [...]


    26. This is an excellent book on many levels. It's a meditative book, intended not as a work of theology as much as one of spiritual exercise and reflection -- but it's deeply informed by theological work centered upon Luther and Paul. The wedding of giving and forgiving as signature themes through which to see the Christian life as a beautiful life is compelling, and the writing is consistently precise and clear. The careful inclusion of Volf's personal experiences are relevant and powerfully devel [...]


    27. I just re-read this book quite carefully in preparation for perhaps teaching from it for a Lenten series. A great way in to the Christian life as lived is giving to others and in forgiving. Giving using God as the model giver, with Christ as the example. We need to imitate Christ in the way he imitated God as giver. Likewise using giving as a template, we move to forgiving. God in Christ forgave us all our sin and draws us to himself. We give and forgive in God and in doing so we are living a Ch [...]


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