Tag Archives: Spiritual Journey

Book Review: What Good is God? by Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors because he tackles the questions most others are afraid to even talk about – and he does it in a raw and honest way.  Yancey pulls no punches in his struggles and is not afraid to answer with “I don’t know” if that’s really the case.  What Good is God? In Search of a Faith that Matters takes no detours from this style, and it does not disappoint.  Yancey asks some big questions and offers some great answers.

The book chronicles 10 trips Yancey has taken over the years to address and interact with people going through terrible trials: victims of the Virgina Tech massacre, a trip to post-apartheid South Africa, and a trip to Mumbai, India during the terrorist attacks there in 2008.  Most people look at tragedies such as these and ask, “Where is God in all of this?”  Yancey asks the same question – and then answers it.  He finds the good in what appears to be evil.  Scripture tells us that “My ways are not your ways”, and that God is in control, yet at chaotic times in this world it is hard to believe.  Yancey doesn’t try to explain away these evil events with simplistic answers – instead, he acknowledges the evil and then searches for good that comes out of it: the churches and Christians who minister to those in need.  God is present in our world, as is evil, and we need to remember that this world is still under the realm of the evil one.  Yancey never tries to explain away the hurt or disappointment of the people in the situations he chronicles.  Instead, he looks for others who are meeting their needs in the name of Jesus.

And in so doing, he challenges us to do the same.  This is by far one of the most convicting books I’ve read in a long time – and it has re-opened my eyes to the hurt around me as well as how God can use me to minister to the needs of the hurting.  If you are looking for a book to encourage your faith by helping you see God working in the lives of people across the world then this book is for you.  If you pick the book up thinking Yancey will answer the question “Where is God in all of this” by trying to explain away the evil around you, you will not find it here.  Evil is present – and Yancey admits that; what he does is look for (and find) God in spite of (or perhaps because of) that evil.  This is a definite 5/5 stars.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their blogger review program.  I was not required to write a positive review of it.  I am disclosing this to comply with FTC regulations.

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Filed under Apologetics, Autobiography, Christian Living

Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

I have to agree with Gordon MacDonald who wrote, “I’d like to be part of a church that this hero ends up proposing.”  Chasing Francis is a historical novel that tells the story of a disenfranchised, evangelical minister who goes on a pilgrimage (sabbatical?) to rediscover his faith.  He makes it very clear that he didn’t loose his love for Jesus but for Jesus’ church.  Through traveling to Italy and following the journeys of and studying the life of Francis of Assisi, Chase (the main character) comes to a deeper understanding of what it means to truly follow Christ.

From a theological standpoint, I struggled with the emphasis on Francis instead of a focus on Christ, but I had to remind myself that the book is fiction and not necessarily what we would consider “Christian Living.”  However, his final picture of the church he wants to lead is in line with Christ’s vision set out in the Gospels.  There are some things I would add to his vision, but I believe the implication behind the story is not that the church needed so much to be only what was presented but needed to add to what it was already doing, while changing some things, to better realize Biblical Christianity.

Over all this book was worth reading and I’d love to participate in a discussion group of it.  For the record, I was in tears at the end of it.  It’s been a long time since I read a good piece of fiction (literally, probably over 10 years), and this was a great re-introduction to the genre.  Overall, I’ll give it 4/5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Filed under Fiction