24/11/2010

Finding God in Unexpected Places (by Philip Yancey)

I do like Philip Yancey's writing. It's down-to-earth, yet thought-provoking. Clearly Christian, but not dogmatic - and eminently re-readable.

I first read 'Finding God in Unexpected Places' in 2005 and was very impressed with it. However, five-and-a-half years later I'd forgotten what it was about, so it seemed like a good idea to re-read.

It's in variable length chapters, with anecdotes, thoughts, and general ramblings about life and God. The style is friendly, and it's a book that can be dipped into or read from start to finish. I did the latter, and took about ten days, reading a few chapters each day.

It's divided into six sections. The first, 'Finding God without really looking' shows how God can be found in any circumstances, sometimes when we're least looking for him. God is in creation, and the most unlikely creatures or scenery can point us to him.

I found the next section 'Finding God on the Job' particularly encouraging. The first chapter in that section, 'They also serve who only sit and click' struck home deeply; I spent most of my time at home writing, or working on websites or blogs. It was very encouraging to know that someone as big in the Christian world as Philip Yancey suffered many of the same inadequate feelings as I sometimes do.

After that, Yancey writes about finding God in a fractured world, among the headlines, and in the cracks. He has travelled widely, and bases much of his writing around ex-Communist countries he has visited, and the astounding rise of faith in some oppressed societies.

The final section is, perhaps surprisingly to some, entitled 'Finding God in the church'. One might think that the church was not at all an unexpected place to find God - but the first chapter is about lively Christians in oppressive prisons in countries such as Peru.

All in all, it's a very thought-provoking book with plenty of interest to Christians of all varieties, and probably to others as well. Definitely recommended.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 24th November 2010

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