Monday, May 19, 2008

The Faith

I'll be honest. Even though I am generally in the midst of reading several books at any given time, I rarely read Christian non-fiction and only occasionally read Christian fiction. In the non-fiction department, I enjoy getting teaching through the radio or directly from my own study of the Bible. With fiction, I am often disappointed with the quality of the writing or the level of preachiness that I find cloying, annoying or fake. (There are some exceptions, that I will write about sometime, because there are a couple of current Christian fiction writers who rank up there with some of the greatest authors from any genre.) So it is unusual, but not unheard of, that I am finding one of my current reads so life-altering. I would go so far as to say that wherever you may be on your own spiritual journey whether skeptic, seeker, new believer or longtime Christ follower, you should read The Faith by Charles Colson.

The subtitle of the book pretty much sums it up: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It and Why it Matters. For those unfamiliar with Christianity, Colson presents a succinct overview starting with the basic premise that God Is. He then presents the centuries of thought and evidences through the ages of the existence of God. Each chapter is in a similar format, a tenant of the faith followed by evidence in an engaging and highly readable style.

Unfamiliar with Christianity? How can anyone be unfamiliar with Christianity in America? Well, I would humbly posit that not only are most Americans woefully ignorant of what true biblical Christianity is and is not, but so are many Christians. We see the words “Christian” and worse, “evangelical,” bandied about in the realms of media, politics and academia where their meanings are misappropriated, misused, mischaracterized and ultimately misunderstood by believers and unbelievers alike.

The Faith presents a very clear picture of what Jesus taught and what true belief looks like. I can't think of any better way of describing this book and what its mission is than to quote a story directly from the book jacket (Hey, these people are professionals who write this stuff—how can I hope to improve upon it!?)

“Moments before a tormented man took the lives of five young Amish schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, PA on the morning of October 5, 2006, two of the girls, Marian and Barbie Fisher, asked to be sacrificed so that the others could be saved. The killer did not spare the sisters; instead he attempted to murder Marian, Barbie and all eight of their female classmates. Five survived. And in the days after the tragedy, as the world watched in numbed silence, the parents of those girls and the entire Amish community did something seemingly incomprehensible. They forgave the killer and supported his family with their prayers and their financial resources. While their response shocked many, those parents and that community were actually practicing the love that every Christian ought to practice. They were living what they believe.”

And that's why Christians should also read this book. We need to be living what we believe in such a manner that we are so radically different from the natural order of things that people are shocked. We should be “seemingly incomprehensible” because what our Savior did was so incomprehensible and sacrificial and radical. Let that be said of me.


TropicGirl said...

I love that. I'm SO going to have to read this book. I am afraid I'm so often lacking in the "seemingly incomprehensible" department. I wish I were more like it, and need to know how to be more like that. Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable. It's these deeply honest posts (and all the others) that keep me coming back! Love you!

Biblioteca Chica said...

Hey me too. Just b/c I recognize the need to be to be incomprehensible, doesn't mean I actually DO it!! Oh wait, El Guapo pretty much thinks I'm unable to be figured out, so maybe I have succeeded (he he!)