Thursday, September 29, 2011
Finding God in Unexpected Places
An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they've overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope. Excerpt from inside flap, front cover.
Philip Yancey hits another one out of the ballpark for me with this one. I recently picked up a copy on my last trip (literally last trip) to Borders before they closed. I was introduced to his books years ago, the first being, The Jesus I Never Knew. What I love about Philip Yancey's writing is that he takes me places I will most likely never go and meet people I would never ordinarily have the chance to meet.
More importantly, he opens me up to the possibility that right next to me may be one of those ordinary and yet extraordinary people quietly doing what Jesus did......meeting the world with love and compassion.
With his strong journalism background, he has an insatiable drive to go to those far reaching places and ask the tough questions others are afraid to ask, yet he never pretends to have all the answers. Instead, he leads the reader on an investigation for the answers in light of the truth of Scripture.
In this book, He takes us to Ground Zero where he interviewed a Chaplain with the Salvation Army. He met with Prison Fellowship leaders in Peru, Chile, and Africa, and attended underground Church services in China. He presents us with a God who is very much alive and working in this world through His people. He tells us the stories we wish we heard on the news.
There is a balance and humility to his writing that I really appreciate, and what I love most about all his books is that while not backing away from the faults of the church and its people down through history, his love for the church always comes through clearly.
Through his writing and the lessons he has learned from his own experience and others he has written about, there is always the gentle reminder that walking softly through the world with love and compassion has the power to change in a way that slashing our way through it with legalism and dogma never will.
If you love to read about the powerful ways the Holy Spirit is working through His people, you will love this book. I'm glad there are authors out there like Philip Yancey who don't shy away from the journey.