Thursday, September 06, 2018

From the archives: Serious Times (book review)

First posted September 2011
"God calls us to live large on the very stage we find ourselves.  God has placed us in this very situation to infuse it with meaning and significance.  This enables us to live for Christ now rather than waiting for a set of circumstances we imagine will allow us to serve him in the future.  This simple but profound attitude has marked many of the great lives...."
The best book I've read lately...really the Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day, by James Emery White, published in 2004.

I'm not sure if I'd ever read anything by Dr. White before.  I didn't go looking for him.  The book turned up in a pile of "religious non-fiction" I was pricing at the thrift store.  I liked the look of it and decided to buy it myself.

The Amazon reviews are pretty right on.  To say it's an entertaining book (as someone there said) might sound like you were doing it an injustice (I mean, the title is Serious Times); but it is written in an engaging and readable style.  Good thought stuff, good faith stuff, good life stuff.  I especially liked the chapter on "Developing Our Minds."  Here's a quote from that chapter:

"Beyond engaging various fields of thought, it is critical to be able to think about our faith in relation to its significance.  In dialogue with the world, the deepest question regarding the Christian faith is 'So what?'  This simple question gets to the heart of not only thinking Christianly but communicating Christianity itself....The Christian mind must understand the significance [of the resurrection] in order to offer it to the world.  If we cannot, we will have lost our place in the most critical of conversations--indeed, the only conversation that matters."
This one is a keeper.  I'd like to figure out a way to use it for an adult Sunday School class.  It would also be a great addition to a highschool worldview course.

One more quote:

"By nature we tend to adapt, to conform, to our surroundings.  There are only two forces shaping us: one is the world and the other is the will of God.  If we are to avoid becoming in the surrounding culture, we must take a stand.  That stand comes through the renewing of our minds....Taken into prayer, ideas become real, life-changing, dynamic.  Then, and only then, they change my life."

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