05/05/2005

Open Windows

Today I finished 'Open Windows', a book which contains a series of essays by Philip Yancey. Some of the writing was apparently originally written as article for magazines.

It's a fascinating mixed bunch of thoughts from this inspiring author who always seems to see beyond straightforward evangelical jargon and trite understanding of Christianity, to ask deeper questions and probe people's underlying beliefs. The book is in three main sections, entitled The Arts, The Message, and Our Bent World. The first section includes interviews with Francis Schaeffer, the second takes an honest look at the problems facing the Christian writer and the dangers of the American Christian TV scene.

Then the final section explores issues that would daunt many a modern evangelical. Lessons learned from concentration camps; a new way of looking at the eternal problem of pain; finally a couple of chapters discussing the lifestyle and beliefs of a man who wasn't even a Christian: Mahatma Ghandi. Yancey is strong in ihs own faith and never suggests that there is any other way to salvation than that of Christ, but he suggests that people like Ghandi should offer a challange to our materialistic success-orientated Western culture. He also expressed sadness at the way Ghandi - who read the New Testament and was a great admirer of Jesus - was turned away from the church more than once due to the racism of the mid-20th century.

All in all, an interesting book. Not one to read at one sitting as it covers many topics, and not as powerful as some of Yancey's later books, but I'm still glad to have it in my collection. Recommended to any Christians wanting to think outside the box, who don't mind considering awkward questions and re-thinking some of their previously held ideas about their faith.

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