None of Us Lives For Himself

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At first glance, you might be justified in assuming that a book combining the stories of an 18th Century German Count and a technically detailed flight over Europe is, at best, appealing to a fairly niche subsection of readers. You might even feel justified in counting yourself out of that group. However, what Phil Anderson offers with Lord of the Ring is not some dusty academic appraisal of a long dead aristocrat, but a profoundly informative and surprisingly accessible attempt to shed some light on an often overlooked figure at the heart of recent history. In a compelling mix of biographical insight and personal anecdotes, Anderson weaves together the story of Count Zinzendorf, the godfather of the modern prayer and missions movements, with his own pilgrimage to the place it all began, making real and present what could seem so distant and isolated. Though the 24-7 prayer movement was born in Herrnhut, it did not die at the end of their one hundred years of continual prayer, and we are reminded as Anderson describes himself wandering the neglected ruins of Zinzendorf’s home in the early years of the revival of this very idea of the relevancy of the history being told, the legacy which outlasted individuals and even buildings. This is a book that manages to seamlessly evoke the impact of the past on the present, removing history from the page by highlighting its ongoing relevance. I began this book filled with cautious scepticism, and ended it with a newfound respect for a man whose influence has touched the world.

When I think of my father, I often think of his hands – sturdy, broad, made coarse by time in the act of making; the hands of a worker, often decorated with a few words scrawled in blue pen, the only other adornment being a ring on his left hand. Thick and silver, it is engraved with a strange jumble of letters and symbols, moulded with age into the triangle shape of his finger, acting at once as a wedding band and a statement of faith. (more…)

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