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How Good Do We Have to Be? by Harold S.…
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How Good Do We Have to Be? (1996)

by Harold S. Kushner

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Good short work on self-esteem and dealing with the unspoken assumption to rise to personal perfection to please parents and others. Using the Garden of Eden story as object lesson Kushner nicely shows how Adam an Eve helped their descendants to better cope with the fall from Grace and the expulsion from Eden. The Garden of Eden story for Kushner is an invitation for all to love as humans love, with obvious faults but still genuinely and with good intentions.
  sacredheart25 | Jun 27, 2019 |
From Amazon:

From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology,,and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.
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  St-Johns-Episcopal | Jul 16, 2017 |
One of my favorite philosophical books. Although he certainly discusses the role of God and religion in our lives, it is largely a discussion of a healthy approach to life. This is a great book for married couples, for parents, for young people, for old people, for those who are successful and those who are struggling. In short, whatever stage of life you are in, there is some wisdom in here for you. ( )
  bjtimm | Nov 8, 2016 |
How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner. Epiphany library section 8 D: Life Skills, Emotional Support. Nobody is perfect. Yet when we hold others and ourselves to be perfect, the results are disappointment, guilt, anger and depression. Using the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, Kushner teaches us how to accept others and ourselves despite imperfections. He draws upon literature, theology, and his 30 years of counseling parishioners as a rabbi, to explain how to live well without expectations of perfection. Acceptance of people as they are, and forgiving those we feel have let us down (our parents, our children, our colleagues) helps us meet the challenge of being human.
I especially like how Kushner explains the difference between lower orders of animals, with people. How did humans rise above other animals? The Garden of Eden explains it, but Kushner says the lesson of Eden is quite different than the typical one of blaming Eve as the originator of sin. Kushner says Eve was actually the catalyst in giving humankind greater understanding than other animals of past, present, and future, and of right and wrong. I also like how he discusses hidden resentments in families between parents and children, and between siblings themselves. This gave me ideas about how to repair rifts in my own clan.
Kushner, best known for his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, also in our church library, is a marvelous writer whose books never cease to offer readers hope in a loving and nurturing God who needs us, loves and forgives us, despite our imperfections. Though Kushner is Jewish, his books can be read and appreciated by those of other faiths and those with no faith at all. Since he relies on lessons from the OT, Lutherans will be quite at home with all he mentions. ( )
  Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Dec 31, 2011 |
Group K
  gilsbooks | May 17, 2011 |
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For Carl David Haber
with whom the human race begins anew
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I look out at a synagogue filled to overflowing, every seat taken, people standing in the rear aisle.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316519332, Paperback)

From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology,,and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology, and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.… (more)

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