Books: Vanishing Grace

December 24, 2014

Almost twenty years ago I read a new book by Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace? It was one of the best Christian books I had ever read, and I wrote a review on the website of an internet bookseller I had recently discovered (but most people had probably not heard of), amazon.com. Since then I have enthusiastically recommended the book to others.

So when I saw recently that Yancey had written a follow-up, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?, I was eager to read it. I chose to request it from the library, however, rather than order my own copy, as few books have turned out to live up to their glowing reviews as well as What’s So Amazing about Grace?

And while I wanted Yancey’s new book to be as good as the other, I just didn’t find it nearly as compelling. It asks some good questions, and could start some good discussions. But if I wanted to help someone understand grace I’d still recommend the first book. And if I wanted to lead a discussion I’d recommend the first book, and then ask some of the questions raised in this book, without necessarily spending a lot of time on Yancey’s answers.

Read the rest of this entry »


The meaning of salvation (part 2)

December 21, 2012

One of the first things I was told I needed to do as a new Christian was share my faith. Since I preferred the company of books to people, and I rarely expressed my thoughts to anyone if I didn’t have to, this was very difficult for me.

One of the first and most difficult conversations was telling my mother about my new beliefs, as I knew my parents had a pretty low opinion of fundamentalist Christians. (I don’t remember telling my father anything; I assume my mother told him about it.) They had always insisted that my sister and I were to make our own choices, however, and they were surprisingly accepting of my going over to the fundamentalist “side”, if not exactly supportive.

In his comment on my previous post, modestypress says he “would feel less aversion to Christianity (or other religious beliefs) if there were less obsession with guilt (about our imaginary original sin Adam and Eve ancestors) and with an imaginary Hell, and with condemnation of people who do no harm (e. g. non-believers and homosexuals).” I’m sure my mother’s aversion to the fundamentalist version of Christianity was for much the same reasons.

Read the rest of this entry »


Strange phone call

August 24, 2012

I had been driving for several hours, and I was finally near enough to my destination that I knew my way without looking at the mapquest.com directions in my hand. My cell phone rang, and I answered it, wondering why my husband felt a need to call me now. He was in the car behind me, with our older son, and even as directionally-impaired as he is, he should have recognized the area leading to his aunt’s house.

How are you doing today?

Well, that certainly wasn’t my husband’s voice, and I couldn’t immediately place it. Someone from work, maybe? (Where I used to work until last Friday, that is – maybe someone wondering how I was handling unemployment, someone who hadn’t yet heard that I was offered a new job on Monday, and that I start work on Sept. 4.)

“Fine,” I answered, somewhat noncommittally since I didn’t know who I was speaking to. I waited for the speaker to identify himself and his reason for calling.

What do you think happens to people when they die?

Read the rest of this entry »