Friday, August 09, 2013

A Fine Primer Despite the Editing

I just finished a short book titled The Jesus Prayer by one Billy Kangas. It is an ebook that can be found at Feedbooks. It is 24 pages in length (though several pages are devoted to a bibliography and endnotes), and serves as a fairly good primer for the short, powerful prayer used by contemplatives the world over.

Mr. Kangas gives a nice accessible introduction to the prayer, providing information on its origins and use. While I might have wanted more history, here is just enough information to set the prayer into a clear context part of Christian trading without getting too academic. 

The prayer itself is not so much something one learns to do or say, but something one learns to incorporate into daily life, particularly for those who take seriously the biblical injunction to "pray without ceasing." Though the chapter on word meanings does not do much for me, the other chapters provide just enough information to keep interest and without bogging down the message.

My main problem with the book concerns the editing. I found several comma spices and run-on sentences, inconsistent punctuation regarding lists, a sentence fragment (not for emphasis), and the title of a book referred one way in the text and another in the notes. One or two of these mistakes are not that big a deal, but the cumulative effect is a little off-putting. 

But maybe I'm playing too much English teacher here. The book is free, so maybe I should not expect too much. I can attest to how hard it is be both writer and editor. The content is what matters, and if you are interested in contemplative prayer, this book is a useful beginning.

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