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O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling Paperback – May 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Doubt can play an important role in a healthy spiritual life. This statement may seem counter-intuitive, but Boyett, popular speaker and author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, illustrates its truth through his own faith struggles. Grounded in Scripture and Christian history, the author provides examples of great religious thinkers who experienced their own trials of doubt about God, faith, and the church. But it is when he weaves in humorous, even poignant, autobiographical anecdotes that his writing springs to life. One fascinating highlight is the discussion regarding the "hidden God," a phrase used by many great religious figures to describe just how different God is from human categories and understanding. Ultimately, the author's point is clear: if there were no doubt, there would not be faith. The author is comfortable with a snarky, self-deprecating style that will appeal to the under-40 crowd, although older readers may not appreciate it. For anyone wrestling with doubt about religious faith, however, this memoir provides a chance to examine the experience with levity. (May) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Doubt can play an important role in a healthy spiritual life. This statement may seem counter-intuitive, but Boyett, popular speaker and author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, illustrates its truth through his own faith struggles. Grounded in Scripture and Christian history, the author provides examples of great religious thinkers who experienced their own trials of doubt about God, faith, and the church. But it is when he weaves in humorous, even poignant, autobiographical anecdotes that his writing springs to life. One fascinating highlight is the discussion regarding the 'hidden God,' a phrase used by many great religious figures to describe just how different God is from human categories and understanding. Ultimately, the author's point is clear: if there were no doubt, there would not be faith. The author is comfortable with a snarky, self-deprecating style that will appeal to the under-40 crowd, although older readers may not appreciate it. For anyone wrestling with doubt about religious faith, however, this memoir provides a chance to examine the experience with levity. (May) Jason Boyett, Zondervan (Zondervan)
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2) More likely than not, you have struggled at some point in time with the same questions he struggles with. It's the perfect book to help you feel like you're not alone in your doubting. If you haven't, you're not being honest with yourself - so you should go back to reason number 1 to read it.
3) This is a story of someone who grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition and learned along the way the value of learning from other denominations. No one denomination is 100% right. Jason pulls from rich liturgical traditions to help him when the simple answer of "Jesus saves" isn't enough to hold him up. At the same time, he embraces the power that exists behind charismatic traditions. I love the way he pulls things from various denominational traditions to help him discover what he believes. If you think you are 100% right in all you do and your denomination or traditions are better than others, revert back to number 1 for why you should read this book.
4) If you're in full-time paid ministry, there are many people that you encounter that struggle with the same kinds of questions Jason struggles with. Whether you can identify with what he's saying or not, you should know how to relate to people who are where he is. And if you think you can't identify with what he's saying, then I point you back to number 1 for why you should read it.
5) He's incredibly intelligent. Jason will probably tell you that he's not that smart - but I would disagree. This book is a brilliant portrayal of how intellectual giants wrestle with doubt and yet still have faith. His most brilliant point: faith & doubt are not mutually exclusive. In fact, faith & doubt work hand in hand with one another. If we don't doubt, then there's no need for faith. When we intellectually can't understand something, that's when faith steps in. If you think you understand everything - well, then - I guess you're just stuck with reason number 1 to read this book.
I loved this book! Jason was honest and forthright. He is someone I would love to talk to in person, because he gets it. I also really appreciate what he does about his doubts. He doesn't sweep them under the carpet and try to forget them. He lives with them and takes action amist is doubts.
I am sure that many Christians, especially in fundamentalist circles, will balk at what he says, but having grown up in that circle, I found it refreshing and helpful.
I wish there were more honest books like this.
I stumbled across Jason Boyett and his writing when another blog I follow mentioned him. From that time on, I've read every post of his and have felt like kin when I found out he was writing a book on doubting God. While every now and again I doubt God's existence, for me; it's doubting my salvation. But nonetheless doubt is doubt and being able to relate to someone who openly admits he doesn't always feel God or hear God and isn't trying to hide it, is right up my alley. And Jason grew up as a Southern Baptist like me, so I can definitely relate to how us doubters can be perceived among the denomination.
I appreciate Jason's ability to take deep philosophical themes (for or against the existence of God) and explain them in a simple, understandable, easy to digest way (maybe that's why he's the master of the pocket guide). What makes this book great is the personal footnotes, albeit not always a book citation, but a quirky remark on what made him write what he's referencing or what we, the reader may be thinking. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read the book.
What kept the page turning was some of the humorous things Jason talked about that I've seriously thought about myself. For example, when talking about the frustrations of when people pray out loud, I now count how many times someone uses the word "just". I've honestly thought about wanting to get tinted windows so I can sing or pray in the car without people thinking I was crazy. But Jason had a better idea, get a fake blue tooth ear piece. It's more funny now after reading the book when he wrote a post a month or so prior about recording the audio book version when he said something along the lines of "make sure not to write out philosophical big wigs like Kierkegaard too many times." Because at one point he had written Keirkegaards name on one page more times than Joel Osteen blinks in a sermon.
I especially enjoyed the term "Eschatological agnostic" meaning it's someone who doesn't understand the end times. Personally, when people ask me about the end times, if we'll get raptured, pre, mid, or post trib, I say, "I believe in the pan theory. When it happens it'll all pan out."
There were a couple of times where I felt the book was repetitious. When I wrote my notes down, the repetitive ideas were at the end, i.e. an idea from chapter 3 was talked about in chapter 9 and 10. (I won't name them, because maybe you won't notice or care) Maybe it was a recap sort of thing and I know all my English teachers always told me to never introduce a new issue at the end of an essay or paper, but the recapping left me thinking, "I heard you say this before, let's talk of other fun and honest things."
There were times where I felt the book glossed over certain bible characters' doubts like a laundry list style. I realize the focus of the book wasn't to do a book report of these people but it would have been nice to spend a little bit more time really understanding their doubt.
The honesty that was apparent in Jason's tone through out the book was refreshing. And the idea of owning up to our doubts as Christians was encouragement for me. So many times in church we're just told to have child like faith and just believe, read your bible, go to church and pray. But I have so many questions and it was a good reminder in the book pointing out that Jesus said to ask, seek and knock (Anybody ever notice the acronym for that is ASK?)
What I can relate to deep in my heart is when he says, "In my life, I struggle with the paralyzing nature of doubt. Why pray if I don't know what good it does? Why lead my small group if I have serious questions about the subject matter? Why address a congregation in a sermon if I'm not even close to figuring anything out? Religious doubt makes me want to sit back and do nothing." This is a great struggle for me because I used to help out with youth but after a couple of months, I shrug my shoulders and say, "What's the point? If I really told them how I was feeling or what I was thinking, I probably wouldn't be allowed to teach."
This book isn't going to remove any of your doubt (which some may think is a negative thing, but I see it as a way of searching out God and who he is, also it's working out our salvation with fear and trembling). But Jason encourages his readers to be real and reminds those of us who do doubt in some way, not to be white washed tombs.
But the best encouragement I got from the book was this:
It's time to get our Kung Fu Grip on!
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I love Jason's honesty and his writing style which infuses humor throughout.Read more