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Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life Paperback – November 18, 2003
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How do we unriddle the mystery of life and make the most of it? What does it mean to find ourselves guests on a tiny, spinning blue ball in a vast universe? Is our sense of individual uniqueness backed by a guarantee, or are we only dust in the wind?… Long Journey Home is written for those who are asking enduring questions like these.–Os Guinness
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Have you woken up to the journey of life? Have you reached a point where you long for "something more"? Have the things you have striven to achieve turned out to be far less than enough? Do you desire to unriddle life's mystery and pursue a life rich with significance?
"Long Journey Home is a seeker's road map to the quest for meaning. Rich in stories and profoundly personal as well as practical, it explores the great philosophies of life and charts the road toward meaning taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries. Written for those who care and those who are open, "it assumes no faith in the reader, only the recognition that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care about enough to seek to make sense of it and to make up our minds for ourselves."
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Guinness is not only a prolific writer, (he has 21 titles to his
name), he is a first rank Christian thinker, apologist and one of the world's ablest defenders of historic Christianity in a world increasingly shaped by post-moderniem, religious pluriformity and sexual diversity. His book divides into four sections. A Time for Questions, A Time for Answers, A Time for Evidence and a Time for Commitment.
Guinness is the master of the anecdotal quote. In one chapter, "An examined life in an unexamined age" he manages, in just two pages to quote Huxley, Simone Weil, Ann Lamott, Annie Dillard, and concludes with this golden paragraph. "The fact is that many of the greatest thinkers, writers, artists, musicians, scientists, inventors, poets, and reformers throughout Western history ahve been people of profound and genuine faith--Augustine, Dante, Gutenberg, Pascal, Rembrandt, Newton, Bach, Handel, Wilberforce, Dostoevsky, and T.S. Eliot, to name a few--yet faith continues to be dismised by many of the educated and cultured as something only for the uneducated and uncultured."
This book is must reading for any intelligent agnostic, for those who may have lost their faith, or for hard core atheists.
I cannot say enough good things about it. Simply buy it.
David W. Virtue
The nation's largest evangelical and orthodox Episcopal/Anglican Online News Service read by more than 80,000 readers in 36 countries.
Written as a seeker's road map to the quest for meaning, and presented as an exploration of the road toward meaning as taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries (p.8), Long Journey Home offers insight into how such meaning can be found today. Beginning with the dictum that the unexamined life is not worth living (p.12) and concluding with the realization that the untransformed life is not worth finding (p.204), Guinness invites the reader to join him, and to recognize with him, that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care enough about to want to make sense of (p.9). Winsomely written, replete with stories and choice quotations, I believe this volume and its approach will resonate with significant numbers of people.
Structured around four major sections, with each section highlighting a particular stage of the journey, this work offers no `keys' to happiness, no `short cuts' to success and no `techniques' to master. Avoiding both simplism and stereotype, Guinness offers the thoughtful seeker only a well-beaten path to follow. The stages of the journey mapped out by Guinness are: (1) The asking of questions, (2) Actively seeking out answers to the questions, (3) Evaluating the evidence for the answers, and (4) Commitment to what is discovered, realizing that all stages of the journey ought to culminate in responsible action.
In the first section, Guinness introduces the journey by pointing to the human desire to know meaning beyond the meaning we know. Building on sociologist Peter Berger's identification of "signals of transcendence" (those catalytic experiences in everyday life that point to a higher reality), Guinness illustrates the impetus deep within us all to search for more. Pointing to G.K.Chesterton's experience of gratitude, W.H.Auden's absolute sense of justice and the impossibility of not condemning evil, as well as C.S.Lewis' deep sense of joy, Guinness articulates how such experiences raise questions and creates seekers.
With the second stage of the journey characterized by actively seeking answers to the specific questions raised the focus of this volume now falls on truth-claims and the nature of the search for answers (p.68f). Showing his practical genius in narrowing down what could potentially be an overwhelming search, Guinness counters two frequently voiced objections. First, that the search for answers is unnecessary (because all beliefs at their core are the same), and second, that the search for answers is impossible (because there are too many beliefs to investigate). Guinness then shows how the truth lies somewhere in between and in so doing introduces the idea of `families of faith' (p.69). By addressing the vexed question of evil, suffering and death among the Eastern, Secular Western and Biblical `families of faith' that Guinness exemplifies how the search for answers can proceed.
Building on the answers gleaned in the previous stage, the third stage of the journey commences when the answers arrived at are evaluated. In short, this stage asks: Are the answers uncovered true? Acknowledging the controversial nature of truth-claims today, Guinness attempts to clear away some of the fog (p.120ff) and to shed light on the notion of truth. (Following in the footsteps of Francis Schaeffer, he talks about truth in terms of its correspondence to reality and its livability). Managing to avoid a complicated and protracted discussion of all things epistemological, the argument of this section is propelled forward by exposing two common roadblocks: the skepticism of old wounds and the skepticism of bad experiences inflicted by people of faith (p.132). Leading ultimately to a consideration of the identity of Jesus Christ, Guinness shows his dissatisfaction with those who dismiss the evidence for truth and shows up two equal and opposite mistakes: The setting up of impossible standards of truth, and the attempt to bypass the question of truth altogether (p.145). In contrast, two positive means of assessing evidence are advocated. One, the examination of particular beliefs "up close and in detail' (illustrated, in this instance, by Phillipe Haille and Eleanor Stump). And two, seeing the `big-picture' or assessing large webs of interwoven truth claims (i.e. worldviews).
In the fourth and culminating stage of the journey, Guinness focuses on individual responsibility and the full embrace of responsible faith. Emphasizing commitment in light of the conclusions the search has led to, this final section does what too few books of this genre do. It warns against the intrusion of techniques and the simplification of faith. It embraces the diversity of ways in which individuals come to faith. It highlights the holistic nature of faith, recognizing that people are far more than walking minds. It celebrates the often forgotten reality that we are never more ourselves than when we come to faith. And it wonderfully plays up the truth (illustrated by the story of Simone Weil) that we find God because He first finds us; that the secret of our quest for purpose and meaning lies not in our brilliance but in His grace.
As a reviewer, I've not rushed my description of the contents of this book because I believe the ebb and flow of its argument deserves to be highlighted. On the whole, this book deserves to be read as much by pastors and preachers as by the `seekers' it was penned for. It is an excellent volume that draws upon classical and contemporary sources (often juxtaposed in fascinating ways), which is informed by a sound biblical anthropology (cf. p.198ff), and which dares to rely upon the diverse integrity of human beings and the sovereign freedom of God. Long Journey Home is a book whose themes and approach ought to shape evangelism, inform preaching and dissuade anyone from dependence upon, generic, pre-packaged, `one size fits all' forms of witnessing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommend to read.
It will give you a new insight for your life.
Guinness knows what he's writing about.Read more