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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 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 more, 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.


- Publisher Free of ChargeCopyright 2005 by Miroslav VolfRequests for information should be addressed to:Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataVolf, MiroslavFree of Charge : giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of grace : theArchbishop''s official 2006 Lent book / Miroslav Volf.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references.ISBN-10: 0-310-26574-6ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26574-01. Generosity - Religious aspects - Christianity. 2. Forgiveness - Religiousaspects - Christianity. I. Title: Archbishop''s official 2006 Lent book. II. Title.BV4647.G45V65 2006241''.4 - dc22{B} 2001017679Miroslav Volf asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New RevisedStandard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Chris tian Education of the NationalCouncil of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.All rights reserved.The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource toyou. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on thepart of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy,recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the priorpermission of the publisher.Interior design by Michelle EspinozaPrinted in the United Kingdom05 06 07 08 09 10 11 - 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1Chapter 1God the GiverIn The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story aboutan old peasant woman, very wicked, who died without leaving a singlegood deed behind. All she did, she did for herself alone, illicitlytaking what she could take and acquiring by legitimate means whatshe could acquire, but not giving anything to anyone, nothing usefulor beautiful, no helpful deeds, not even a kind look. After she died,the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. The storycontinues,So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deedof hers he could remember to tell to God; "She once pulledup an onion in her garden," said he, "and gave it to a beggarwoman." And God answered: "You take that onion then, holdit out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulledout. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come toParadise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must staywhere she is." The angel ran to the woman and held out theonion to her. "Come," said he, "catch hold and I''ll pull youout." He began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulledher right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing howshe was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so asto be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked womanand she began kicking them. "I''m to be pulled out, not you.It''s my onion, not yours." As soon as she said that, the onionbroke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burningthere to this day. So the angel wept and went away.1Some may read this story navely, as a recipe for how to get intoparadise with minimal effort. If you do just a single good deed, Godwill pull you on the slender thread of that generosity out of the lakeof fire. But the deed must be good, given to others in true generosity.If you do it just for yourself, just to get you out of hell, the thread willbreak, and you''ll end up licked by flames for eternity.If this wonderful story were a recipe for getting into paradise,it would be a bad one. True, it would get one thing right. God, herepersonified in the guardian angel, is immensely good even to thewicked. God seeks to save them and weeps when they are desperatelystuck in their sin. But it would get the main thing wrong. It''s not byour generosity, however slender, that we are saved, at least not accordingto the Chris tian tradition. We are sav

- Publisher Free of Charge Copyright 2005 by Miroslav Volf Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Volf, Miroslav Free of Charge : giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of grace : the Archbishop's official 2006 Lent book / Miroslav Volf. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-10: 0-310-26574-6 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26574-0 1. Generosity - Religious aspects - Christianity. 2. Forgiveness - Religious aspects - Christianity. I. Title: Archbishop's official 2006 Lent book. II. Title. BV4647.G45V65 2006 241'.4 - dc22 {B} 2001017679 Miroslav Volf asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Chris tian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United Kingdom 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 - 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter 1 God the Giver In The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story about an old peasant woman, very wicked, who died without leaving a single good deed behind. All she did, she did for herself alone, illicitly taking what she could take and acquiring by legitimate means what she could acquire, but not giving anything to anyone, nothing useful or beautiful, no helpful deeds, not even a kind look. After she died, the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. The story continues, So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; "She once pulled up an onion in her garden," said he, "and gave it to a beggar woman." And God answered: "You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is." The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. "Come," said he, "catch hold and I'll pull you out." He began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. "I'm to be pulled out, not you. It's my onion, not yours." As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.1 Some may read this story navely, as a recipe for how to get into paradise with minimal effort. If you do just a single good deed, God will pull you on the slender thread of that generosity out of the lake of fire. But the deed must be good, given to others in true generosity. If you do it just for yourself, just to get you out of hell, the thread will break, and you'll end up licked by flames for eternity. If this wonderful story were a recipe for getting into paradise, it would be a bad one. True, it would get one thing

- Publisher
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About "Free of Charge"

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 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 more, 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.

- Publisher

Free of ChargeCopyright 2005 by Miroslav VolfRequests for information should be addressed to:Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataVolf, MiroslavFree of Charge : giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of grace : theArchbishop''s official 2006 Lent book / Miroslav Volf.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references.ISBN-10: 0-310-26574-6ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26574-01. Generosity - Religious aspects - Christianity. 2. Forgiveness - Religiousaspects - Christianity. I. Title: Archbishop''s official 2006 Lent book. II. Title.BV4647.G45V65 2006241''.4 - dc22{B} 2001017679Miroslav Volf asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New RevisedStandard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Chris tian Education of the NationalCouncil of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.All rights reserved.The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource toyou. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on thepart of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy,recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the priorpermission of the publisher.Interior design by Michelle EspinozaPrinted in the United Kingdom05 06 07 08 09 10 11 - 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1Chapter 1God the GiverIn The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story aboutan old peasant woman, very wicked, who died without leaving a singlegood deed behind. All she did, she did for herself alone, illicitlytaking what she could take and acquiring by legitimate means whatshe could acquire, but not giving anything to anyone, nothing usefulor beautiful, no helpful deeds, not even a kind look. After she died,the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. The storycontinues,So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deedof hers he could remember to tell to God; "She once pulledup an onion in her garden," said he, "and gave it to a beggarwoman." And God answered: "You take that onion then, holdit out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulledout. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come toParadise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must staywhere she is." The angel ran to the woman and held out theonion to her. "Come," said he, "catch hold and I''ll pull youout." He began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulledher right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing howshe was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so asto be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked womanand she began kicking them. "I''m to be pulled out, not you.It''s my onion, not yours." As soon as she said that, the onionbroke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burningthere to this day. So the angel wept and went away.1Some may read this story navely, as a recipe for how to get intoparadise with minimal effort. If you do just a single good deed, Godwill pull you on the slender thread of that generosity out of the lakeof fire. But the deed must be good, given to others in true generosity.If you do it just for yourself, just to get you out of hell, the thread willbreak, and you''ll end up licked by flames for eternity.If this wonderful story were a recipe for getting into paradise,it would be a bad one. True, it would get one thing right. God, herepersonified in the guardian angel, is immensely good even to thewicked. God seeks to save them and weeps when they are desperatelystuck in their sin. But it would get the main thing wrong. It''s not byour generosity, however slender, that we are saved, at least not accordingto the Chris tian tradition. We are sav
- Publisher

Free of Charge Copyright 2005 by Miroslav Volf Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Volf, Miroslav Free of Charge : giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of grace : the Archbishop's official 2006 Lent book / Miroslav Volf. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-10: 0-310-26574-6 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26574-0 1. Generosity - Religious aspects - Christianity. 2. Forgiveness - Religious aspects - Christianity. I. Title: Archbishop's official 2006 Lent book. II. Title. BV4647.G45V65 2006 241'.4 - dc22 {B} 2001017679 Miroslav Volf asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Chris tian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United Kingdom 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 - 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter 1 God the Giver In The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story about an old peasant woman, very wicked, who died without leaving a single good deed behind. All she did, she did for herself alone, illicitly taking what she could take and acquiring by legitimate means what she could acquire, but not giving anything to anyone, nothing useful or beautiful, no helpful deeds, not even a kind look. After she died, the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. The story continues, So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; "She once pulled up an onion in her garden," said he, "and gave it to a beggar woman." And God answered: "You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is." The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. "Come," said he, "catch hold and I'll pull you out." He began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. "I'm to be pulled out, not you. It's my onion, not yours." As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.1 Some may read this story navely, as a recipe for how to get into paradise with minimal effort. If you do just a single good deed, God will pull you on the slender thread of that generosity out of the lake of fire. But the deed must be good, given to others in true generosity. If you do it just for yourself, just to get you out of hell, the thread will break, and you'll end up licked by flames for eternity. If this wonderful story were a recipe for getting into paradise, it would be a bad one. True, it would get one thing
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Miroslav Volf

Miroslav Volf (Dr. Theol., University of Tubingen) is the Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology. Professor Volf's recent books include Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), Archbishop of Canterbury Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award, and The End Of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World.

A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Professor Volf was involved in international ecumenical dialogues (for instance, with the Vatican Council for Promotion of Christian Unity) and interfaith dialogues (most recently in Christian-Muslim dialogue). A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe.
Koorong -Editorial Review.

Table Of Contents

  • Contents
  • Foreword By Dr Rowan Williams 9
  • Archbishop Of Canterbury
  • Prelude: The Rose 11
  • 1. God The Giver 19
  • 2. How Should We Give? 55
  • 3. How Can We Give? 89
  • Interlude: Daniel's Death 121
  • 4. God The Forgiver 127
  • 5. How Should We Forgive? 157
  • 6. How Can We Forgive? 193
  • Postlude: A Conversation With A Skeptic 225
  • Afterword 235
  • Acknowledgments 237
  • Endnotes 241

Excerpt

Excerpt from: Free of Charge

Free of Charge Chapter 1 God the Giver In The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells a story about an old peasant woman, very wicked, who died without leaving a single good deed behind. All she did, she did for herself alone, illicitly taking what she could take and acquiring by legitimate means what she could acquire, but not giving anything to anyone, nothing useful or beautiful, no helpful deeds, not even a kind look. After she died, the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. The story continues, So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; 'She once pulled up an onion in her garden,' said he, 'and gave it to a beggar woman.' And God answered: 'You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.' The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. 'Come,' said he, 'catch hold and I'll pull you out.' He began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. 'I'm to be pulled out, not you. It's my onion, not yours.' As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.1 Some may read this story naively, as a recipe for how to get into paradise with minimal effort. If you do just a single good deed, God will pull you on the slender thread of that generosity out of the lake of fire. But the deed must be good, given to others in true generosity. If you do it just for yourself, just to get you out of hell, the thread will break, and you'll end up licked by flames for eternity. If this wonderful story were a recipe for getting into paradise, it would be a bad one. True, it would get one thing right. God, here personified in the guardian angel, is immensely good even to the wicked. God seeks to save them and weeps when they are desperately stuck in their sin. But it would get the main thing wrong. It's not by our generosity, however slender, that we are saved, at least not according to the Chris tian tradition. We are saved by God's generosity. But the story isn't about how to get into paradise as much as about how to avoid hell -- not the fiery lake at the end of one's life and of the world's history, but the hell in the here and now, whose flames are made up of greed, selfishness, cold calculation, pride, indifference, exclusion, and many such things. No life worth living is possible without generosity. Indeed, it is doubtful whether the tender plant of newborn human life would even survive without generosity. Yet from the get-go, we seem to be but one bundle of cravings that screams for satisfaction of needs that appear to go unfulfilled and for interests that feel threatened from all sides. That's the big fissure in the life of human beings, individually and collectively -- a yawning gap between deep self-centeredness and true generosity. Can we bridge the gap? We can, if we can show that in all our selfcentered cravings, we are ultimately craving love -- which is to say, craving both to receive love and to give it. Such recognition would be the first part of the bridge on which we could travel from the land in which even what looks like generosity is a form of self-centeredness to a land where generosity is our true self-interest. But how can we con- struct such a bridge? We can't construct it using secular materials -- or at least, I haven't seen it happen so far, and I can't imagine how it could. It takes God to make such a bridge, a God who is love, a God who gives and forgives, a God who created human beings to find fulfillment in love. This chapter -- this book as a whole -- is an attempt to construct such a bridge, and it is an invitation to then walk from one side to the other, from self-centeredness to generosity. So the first and central question is, Who is God?

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Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 235502
  • Product Code 0310265746
  • EAN 9780310265740
  • UPC 025986265748
  • Pages 256
  • Department General Books
  • Category Spiritual Growth
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Zondervan
  • Publication Date Jan 2006
  • Sales Rank #18453
  • Dimensions 215 x 139 x 17 mm
  • Weight 0.281kg

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