Friday, April 29, 2011

Faith and Fiction Saturday Round Table Discussion: What Good is God by Philip Yancey

The Faith and Fiction Round Table is a group that determined six books relating to faith and mostly fiction. We have discussions via email and then post our thoughts on the book.

What Good is God? by Philip Yancey is a collection of talks Yancey has given over the years that address the question, What Good is God? and the search for a meaningful faith.

For me with nonfiction so many ideas are presented I often latch onto one or two. I'd need to read the book again to get a better overall feel, but one of my favorite chapters, and apparently one of the group's favorite chapters was when Yancey spoke to a group of former sex workers. He really emphasized the humanity of each person in this chapter. I recently wrote a post about this on my personal blog, and I'm bringing part of it over for today's post.

I’ve been reading What Good is God? by Philip Yancey. As always, I love his gentle voice and the way he manages to invite readers in for questioning while also encouraging us. In a chapter about some time he spent with former sex workers, he talks about the mystery of a person. Again, this is such a good reminder for me. I find it hard to constantly live in the tension of staying open minded to people and making decisions drawn on past experience. When talking about nested dolls he writes, “It occurred to me later that each one of us, like the nested dolls, contains multiple selves, making us a mysterious combination of good and evil, wisdom and folly, reason and instinct.” We are not one of us just any one thing no matter how much our minds demand categorizations be made. We all have our own degree of mystery, capable of great love, great kindness, great cruelty.

I can think of times when I’ve formed my judgment about someone, only to later be moved when I see them differently…for the better or worse. Sometimes I fear our society makes up its mind too quickly. We judge by political affiliation, we judge by religious association, by gender, race, sexual orientation, class, blog platform, and more. We shove people into our own understanding of who they should be by these things, discounting the mysterious fullness of their personhood. The time to make up your mind about people is…never*.

*this is a quote from The Philadelphia Story.

Read the other posts from FnFRT participants:
Book Addiction, Book Hooked Blog, Books and Movies, Crazy for Books, Ignorant Historian, Linus's Blanket, My Random Thoughts, One Person's Journey Through a World of Books, Roving Reads, Semicolon, The 3R's Blog, Tinasbookreviews, Victorious Cafe, Word Lily


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