“The Church is in trouble…Could you explain your faith? Do you base it on the Bible? Could you defend it against challenges?”
I almost did not read this book. The cover made me think it was going to be another one of those fluffy, feel-good books. You know, the kind in the end that leave you more convinced that Christians just can’t write honestly about the human condition.
Well, I am here to say that Joy’s splendid book is hardly spiritual pablum. Joy just finished her PhD at St. Andrews, she knows suffering firsthand, and yet she maintains a gritty confidence in Jesus Christ.
When you are my age (sixty-four, by the way), have a strong theological education, and constitutionally have a honed radar for drivel, you are ready to be disappointed by “popular” Christian books.
I was not disappointed!
The writing is beautiful, the insights are fresh, and the storytelling, even about the author’s own life is wonderful. Talking or writing about yourself is fraught with all kinds of potential hazards, but Joy avoids them. She is the winsome, fellow-traveler you would like to have as a guide and friend.
I usually read (meaning careful highlighting and note-taking) 50-60 books a year. I peruse hundreds of others. Aggressively Happy will definitely make my favorite book list for 2022, but now I feel another category needs to be added: Books that pleasantly surprised me.
I would love to open a bookstore someday. Well, not quite. Since my own teaching and writing makes that impossible, I would love to be the person who picks what gets stocked. If and when that happens, you can be sure to find this book on the shelves.
About seven years ago, I interviewed Todd on his recently released book, Rejoicing in Lament. It is a terrific book on a topic, namely lament, that is not well understood by us Americans.
When I saw that Todd’s new book on “embracing our mortality” was coming out, I knew it would be worth reading. Reading actually sounds like too tepid a word for engaging with The End of the Christian Life. Perhaps taking inventory of one’s life or pondering what really matters is better.
I won’t offer a long review, but a few things should be highlighted.
Todd is an honest, yet hopeful man. He does not curb the hard edges of living in mortal bodies. And Todd has a more acute sense of what this means since he has lived for many years with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
The writing is lucid and engaging. As the good theologian that he is, the integration of various fields of study while ever keeping the Scriptures central is a steady note throughout this entire book.
Thoughtful discussion questions are provided at the end of each chapter. These are not your typical boiler plate, don’t have to think about it much, kinds of questions.
This is the fourth book I’ve read by the author.
Larsen is a top-notch scholar who has a good nose for the telling anecdote. He is astute in finding evidence that corrects popular, but wrongheaded views, especially those that relate to his area of expertise, the Victorian Era.
This biography on Mill is everything you would want. It is elegantly written, the author brilliantly corrects various misguided notions, and you learn about a person that is all too easy for us religious types to dismiss.
I should add that I am hoping Oxford offers this as a paperback at a lower price.