Review: Christian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction

Christian Symbol and Ritual: An IntroductionChristian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction by Bernard Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics, and this is exactly what reading this book has done for me. The opportunity to revisit some fundamental understandings of symbol and ritual offered by this book was much appreciated. This book, written by the authors based on their experience of teaching students about sacraments, symbol and ritual, is clearly presented and logically developed. I would heartily recommend it those who would like to begin to depth their understanding of these aspects of Christian life, and to those who already have but might like to revisit them.

From the back cover:

In Christian Symbol and Ritual, Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy offer an accessible and engaging introduction to the topic, written from a nondenominational perspective. Cooke and Macy demonstrate that celebration, ritual, and symbol are already central to our lives, even though most do not see their actions as symbolic or ritualistic. They connect central Christian symbols to the symbols and rituals present in everyday life and place Christian theology in a familiar context. After discussing the characteristics and functions of rituals, they explore different kinds of ritual, including those of friendship, worship, and healing. The authors also examine such questions as how rituals establish and maintain power relationships, how “official” rituals are different from “popular” Christian rituals and devotions, and how Christian rituals function in the process of human salvation. Christian Symbol and Ritual is an invaluable resource for students, teachers, and lay readers.

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