Tag Archives: faith

‘Not Sure’ by John Suk

The sub-title suggests that this is a book about doubt, but I found it to be more about how faith is formed and articulated.  Suk also talks about critical issues in the church and enters into a discussion about faith which is fresh and real. We are always going to live with a certain measure of doubt because there simply are so many things that we do not know. We live by faith but we can also live with doubt, and that’s ok. In fact that tension can be good.

The historical look at the communication of traditions and faith through first an oral tradition of storytelling, then through a literate phase, and now back to a new oral (digital) phase was very interesting. How the confessions and doctrines emerged as part of a literate time should help us see that they will need updating or necessitate another format to be relevant today.

It is with great sadness that I read his observations about how people don’t engage in deep reading much anymore. It is sad, but true. How can even this important book reach those who don’t read anymore? Hopefully the Kindle and iPad may still prove to provide a portable format conducive to readers on the go. ‘Not Sure’ is available on the Kindle!

The writing style seems to swivel back and forth between  personal journey and theological dissertation. I found both styles highly interesting, but I wondered if they belong together in the same book. Perhaps the author was being a bit ambitious, trying to appeal to two different audiences. Or perhaps the theological component is necessary in this type of reflection. At any rate, for me there were many “aha” moments and I took copious notes which I know I will return to (my Kindle highlighter was working overtime!).

Suk articulates the issues well and I appreciate his honesty in the journey. And oddly what I was left with at the end, was more hope and assurance. Just as there are books out there which are mostly about death, but oddly when you read them, there is really much more there about the wonder and joy of life. So with doubt. Following the well worn paths of our faith, even though we are not sure, will bring conviction again. We are on a journey, but we do not walk alone.

In case you read John’s book and are interested in reading more, visit his blog:
John Suk’s Blog

‘Love Wins’ by Rob Bell

  Get it. Read it. Ponder it.

There are so many good points in this book. It is positive, refreshing, and for me rings true. It is written in an inclusive style that draws the reader in. It asks some really good questions. And sometimes a really good question is as important as a number of answers. The ideas are new,  yet not new, and are presented in a clear, uncluttered voice.

Bell’s book is controversial and has sparked some negative reviews. As is often the case with controversial books, many judge without ever cracking the spine. So don’t rely on what others say, read it for yourself.

‘What’s so Amazing about Grace’ by Philip Yancey

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve; mercy is not getting what we do deserve. 

It is fitting to start the New Year with a book about grace. We all know that remarkable relief when we know we are wrong and yet don’t get into trouble for it. It is so easy to see “ungrace” when grace is absent, and so wonderful when it is present. It’s like when you accidentally break that vase in your mother’s house and instead of the wrath or disappointment you were expecting, she says something like “oh, I always secretly hated that old thing!”  Grace is profound and truly amazing. It is so comforting to know that God is full of grace and unconditional love. “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”

Though not new, ‘What’s so Amazing about Grace’  is one of the few books that I re-read every few years. In all of his books, what Yancey brings to the reader  is profound thinking in a highly readable style. Through stories Yancey not so much defines, as gives us a sense of grace and ungrace. Rather than being known for what they are against, imagine Christians being known for bringing the transformative power of love and grace to others?  I love the quote the publisher put on the flyleaf about this book: “Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancy, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope.”