Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short Review of LWQ

Amy Sondova is editor of Youth Ministry Exchange.

After reflecting in her blog on the freebies given at the Atlanta National Youth Workers Convention, she gives an ever so brief review of my book that made my day:

Living with Questions by Dale Fincher (YS/Invert)–I love this book. It’s a new take on Christian “apologetics”, but it’s not lame. I think Fincher’s on to something here and I hope to read more stuff by him.
This made my day, not because she liked my book, but because she *got* what I was aiming at. One target was to be "not lame." Yes, cuting out the cheese factor was a must. But also this is a new way to do apologetics: personal, conversational, breaking down hard concepts into coffee able talk that are meaningful, imaginative, emotional and just makes sense. At least to me.

Amy, thanks for "getting it"!

As Christmas approaches, consider stuffing a stocking with Living with Questions and then engage in some after Christmas discussion on Him who sets us free.


Atypical Girl said...

Thanks, Dale! I hope to start reading your book in the next few days. I'm only 27, but I remember going into college knowing the lamest answers to "theological questions" that people asked. Of course, I was stymied my sophomore year when a couple of girls asked me if Jesus had male parts (I mean, who asks that?) So I laughed and said, of course He did!

For some reason, that experience taught me that people weren't as offended by Christianity as I was led to believe in Christian high school--people were actually interested, but they weren't comfortable asking what was really on their minds. I mean, who goes up to a pastor and asks about Jesus' male parts? That's scandalous!

When I finally put aside my tracks (I carried them in my purse for emergencies) and started chilling out, having fun, and living my faith, I was a much better witness for Christ. Then the questions came, not in an apologetic manner, but real questions like, "I had an abortion, how could God ever forgive me?", "I'm a lesbian, does God hate me?", "Why does God allow bad things to happen?" and so on.

While an intelligent faith is the icing on the cake, what my friends wanted and still want is a faith that is real. I love that you have us LIVING with the questions--the title even interests me. Sometimes we have more questions than answers...and that's OK. Some questions have good answers and some questions have more questions. I'll be considering all that as I read your book.

Thanks for the kind words!

Dale Fincher said...


I can totally relate to what you're saying. As soon as we Jesus in everyday, real life, everything colors differently.

And, yeah, I've engaged in my share of discussions on male body parts of Jesus. I recently spoke to a group of teen guys and dropped that bomb on them. After the giggles, you would wonder if maybe Jesus wasn't quite so perfect because he had male anatomy. Oh, our misconceptions, even of ourselves, is thick and deep.

I noticed you work with girls on cutting. We encounter that a lot on the road. I also noticed you aren't satisfied with a lot of literature on the topic... got an article or link to recommend?

I'd be interested to hear how you like my book when you're done. LIVING with questions, yes... we need the freedom to say we aren't satisfied with an answer if, indeed, we aren't satisfied... and so we continue to think on it.

But, all the same, when we start hooking into some solid answers, we don't want to negate them because it isn't vogue or because they sound too smart or because they require us to think hard as well as engage our experiences. There's a lot of this attitude today among the "postmoderns" (and their leaders). And it's a little troubling.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say about the book. The rest is a surprise.

And if I can ever help out with an interview or article, etc. on YME, let me know. I'm always glad to help.


Paul F. said...

It's kind of sad that a book's non-lameness stands out. I'm glad that your book isn't lame and has good things to say.

Have you heard much about the teenage tendency to act dumb even when you're not? It seems like many teens don't want to seem smart, even if they are (which is where I think we get the dumb blonde / dumb jock ideas). You interact with teens much more than I do, so let me know if you think I'm wrong about that. (And I don't think it's all teens by any means, but from my high school experience, it is a lot.)

Here's why I bring it up... I wonder if as teens get older they still have that attitude, but with an 'adult' spin. Many adults act like we're not supposed to know the answers to certain questions so they just say, "Oh pray some more" or "Well someday when we're in heaven we'll figure it out." It's like taking that attitude absolves them of all responsibility in thinking about these things. Instead of taking the time to carefully consider certain issues, they can punt to the "when we're in heaven" response, and then turn back on the football game.

Dale Fincher said...

Hey Paul, haven't seen you commenting in a while! Must be all that PhD work! ;)

Yeah, a lot of kids act dumb so as not to stand out. Some do it because they think it's more humble. Some do it because they don't want the responsibility (which overlaps into adulthood). It is there. Nice observation. Thanks for bringing it up.

I had a kid tell me he was over the top ADHD... he was in 9th grade. But then I watched him with is friends after a retreat activity. Full of attention, replay, enthusiasm. So I called him on it... are you really ADHD? "Well," he said, "that's what they tell me. It's a great excuse to get away with things!"

Shazam! There it is!

Now, I can tell you there are many kids who do not act dumb and are just not that smart. We want to have gentleness with them.

And I can tell you there are many smart kids who want to make a difference and are working at growing. They tend to be in student leadership and have a general eagerness to be in the know. I appreciate them. But I've also called them on it cause this type will also find their identity in it and reap a new set of issues.

But as long as we are not lame, we're good to go!!

Thanks for posting up, Paul! Hello to Aquinas from our Ladies!

Philip said...

I had a friend in high school who was borderline genius. In 7th grade he took the ACT and got a 32 on it. But he continued to get bad grades. One of our mutual friends asked him why that is, and he said that he didn't want to look smart because that wasn't cool.

He continued on this route and by the middle of high school he was regularly experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and smoking... to be cool. If you would talk with him, he had one of the brightest minds. It was sad to see; he went off to college and I've seen him twice in four years.

Dale Fincher said...

Philip, tragic but I believe it. Our desire to belong is often deeper than our desire to succeed and lead.

I'm reminded of the 'tallest poppy' story...