From Publishers Weekly
Colson—bestselling author, political figure and ministry leader—wrote this book to help readers answer "deep questions... that [determine] how we will live and how we will die and whether our lives will count for something." It is part memoir, as Colson reflects on his own rights and wrongs. For Colson, how people live comes down to their worldview – how their core beliefs about life shape their actions. He covers key paradoxes (i.e., "Out of suffering and defeat often comes victory") and spends a large section of the book establishing the existence of "capital-T truth," a concept Colson argues provides hope and "makes life a breathtaking challenge." He addresses a number of social and political issues, including evolution, euthanasia and homosexuality. Stories are central to this exploration, and Colson incorporates many different kinds: his own Watergate experience, popular films, stories of war and oppression, and front-page business scandals. While he attempts to conduct his search "without relying on any prior assumptions or sectarian convictions," his Christian faith is ever present, and some who start from an opposing position may find his arguments weak. However, Colson's deep humility is striking, and many will welcome this well-researched book, built on his lifetime of learning and extraordinary experience. (June)
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With the aid of the excellent parable-writer/exegete Harold Fickett (see Conversations with Jesus
, 1999), Colson reconfirms that he is a premier popular practitioner of Christian persuasion, especially for the un- and spottily churched. Instead of reflexively citing and quoting the Bible, he alludes to it, sparingly and pointedly, and his exempla come from broadly familiar sources, such as the movie Saving Private Ryan
, and the lives of figures ranging from Olivier Messiaen to Madalyn Murray O'Hair, from death-row convicts to business tycoons. He considers good living and its grounds, which is to say, living for others while seeking and acting upon the truth. The book's long first part contrasts careers of self-motivation and hedonism with others of service and suffering to demonstrate that the former eventuate in disillusion and emptiness, the latter in fulfillment and satisfaction, independent of material success; the short second part discusses the rewards of giving. In the third part, Colson argues against relativism and for absolute truth, considerably more substantially than the ruck of "conservative Christian" commentators do; the exempla in this part are particularly engrossing and frequently high toned (e.g., the spiritual journey of Wallace Stevens). The concluding part considers ultimate things--providence, death, infinite love--and overtly proselytizes, very considerately, for the first time in the book. Colson's temperateness and reasonableness in all that comes before the call to faith increases its appeal, especially to those repelled by ranting and tears. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved