Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review: What Good is God?

What Good is God? In Search of A Faith That Matters. Philip Yancey. 2010. Faithwords [Hachette]. 287 pages.

In the opening chapter, Yancey writes how he "prefers to go out into the field and examine how faith works itself out, especially under extreme conditions. A faith that matters should produce positive results, thus providing an existential answer to the underlying question, "What good is God?" (3) Yancey has chosen ten of these trips to share with readers. Two chapters are devoted to each trip--so he could "bring together his two roles as speaker and writer" (6). The first chapter, for example, recounts his experiences traveling: the people he met, the places he stayed, what he learned from the experience, spiritual lessons and observations and such. The second chapter then focuses on his role as a speaker. Though he admits that "some of the talks follow very closely what I actually said, while in others I have made changes..." (6)

Where did Yancey's travels take him? Virginia Tech, China, Greenlake, Wisconsin, Cambridge, South Africa, Memphis, Tennessee, the Middle East, Chicago, and Mumbai (India). (Also his Bible College--which he doesn't mention by name in the book.)

I liked seeing the different cultures, different perspectives. How suffering, how grief, how pain can shape your faith--make you stronger, make you wiser. We meet people who have lived a life of praise, brought glory to His name, despite the hard lives they've led. We meet people who've felt the power, the transformation of God's grace. We meet people whose lives have been CHANGED by God--people who LOVE God. Who know his goodness, his grace, his love.

I didn't find all trips equally worthy of inclusion in What Good Is God? While the trips on China, Mumbai, South Africa, the Middle East, Virginia Tech, Chicago, and Greenlake seemed relevant--proved interesting, I can't say the same about all of the chapters. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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