Saturday, November 8, 2008

What exactly is this "Living with Questions"?

I'm glad you asked. I've been getting this question in a variety of ways so I thought I'd lay it out for the record.

When you spend a long time writing a book, you'd hate to see people who are looking for a book like yours miss the opportunity to read it because they just didn't know. There is so much in Living with Questions that covers a wide array of other books on the Christian book shelf. Give this one a look. You may find yourself getting a lot more than you paid for (and save yourself some money too!).

Living with Questions is not your typical apologetics book.

If you like Lee Strobel's "The Case for..." books, you'll like Living with Questions. Strobel's books give you interviews on various topics on the book cover. Living with Questions gives you tools so you can be an apologist too and not just find yourself quoting other people. So if you've read Strobel, consider Living with Questions next. Plus you get more topics in less pages. Strobel is not the only Christian writer who was set against the church and found themselves landing squarely on Jesus. As someone who grew up in the church, I knew many reasons to reject Christianity and, if not for intellectually sane and emotionally healthy reasons to follow Jesus, I could have easily walked away. Living with Questions is born out of that kind of journey.

Living with Questions is not just for teens. The marketing is toward students. So are some of the interior graphics. But it was written for everyone, especially those who want to share their faith with smart people and find 'apologetics' just too 'deep' or 'academic' or 'heady.' Living with Questions is gentle entry point into the world of understanding your faith more deeply, how it stands up to reason, and how you can confidently share your faith with others. Though the book is built around student questions, we'd be dishonest to say those same questions are also not adult questions. The reviews on Amazon for Living with Questions are from college graduates. In fact, Living with Questions should be found in the youth section of the book store (because they have so few books that really address their earnest questions) as well as the adult section beside all the other popular apologetics books of the day. It has that kind of cuturally savvy insights you don't find in many other apologetics books.

Living with Questions is doing what postmoderns say can't be done: doing apologetics for a postmodern audience. Yes, contrary to emerging beliefs, postmoderns still value reason, many just don't know it. They value truth, but not for its own sake, but for the sake Jesus gave us: to make us free. Today's kids are a mix of modernism and postmodernism, and neither one is deeply helpful for having a rounded view of the world. C. S. Lewis showed us that. In an era where the most vocal forms of apologetics are more academic and heady, Living with Questions draws more on the imaginative tradition of C. S. Lewis while still using the academic in the background. Living with Questions takes not just the mind and emotions into account, but the whole person, validating every square inch of being human, the ways God equipped us to reach out to him and to each other. I would use any of the arguments in this book on a university campus. In fact, I have. These are test and helpful and not just more "Christianese."

Living with Questions is reflective. It's full of stories and perspectives to chew and mediate on. The last three chapters are my favorite, painting a picture of life, love, and goodness, of the restoring of beauty in the universe as God intended. Hint: it's not what you typically hear in church but is deeply Biblical.

Living with Questions helps students own their faith so they are ready for college and the challenges ahead. It works great for the student who is seeking as well as the student who doesn't realize he/she should be seeking (because they don't quite know they are alive, human, and purposed in this world yet). Many have already used Living with Questions and found it effective. (See study guide drawn up by a youth leader along the right side of my blog.)

Living with Questions helps the reader get out of 'religious' talk and into real life, a need many express when it comes to "Christian" literature.

Living with Questions answers a lot more questions than the chapters indicate. Inside every chapter are aspects of every question like "Why does a good God send people to hell?" and "Can I be a Christian and an evolutionist?" and "Am I loved?" and "How do I know I can trust the Bible?" and "How do I know which religion is right?" and "CAN religion be 'right or wrong'?" and "What is faith?" The book also mentions diversions and addictions many face, including busyness, music, and cutting. Not only are interesting questions embedded in each chapter, but each chapter gives you tools on how to think about questions. So you don't just get my explanation. You get to go exploring and come up with your own. This is very important if we are to OWN our faith.

The only way to adequately OWN our faith is to have the freedom to DISOWN our faith. Living with Questions gives that freedom.

Living with Questions is also for those who are not Christians. I get emails from secular college students who say they've really enjoyed the book and gave them good things to think about. Many "Christian" books are not written for the non-Christians. If you've been looking for a book to give to a non-believing friend, Living with Questions is also for them.

Living with Questions is not a dogmatic, in your face approach to truth-telling. The title of the book says it all. We live with questions so we can live into answers. Many questions and answers are understood a little now and understood more later. Some questions just need perspective. Some questions need encouragement. Some questions need information. Some questions need to be reframed. Living with Questions offers all of these.

So if you're looking for a book to discuss in your youth group, a book to hand out to college students, a book to assign to your classroom, a book to read on the airplane, a book to understand our world a little better and how today's generation approaches life, if you're looking for tools to navigate life better rather than having to quote someone else, then Living with Questions is the book you're looking for.

Soon available on audio too.
blog comments powered by Disqus