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Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church Paperback – October 21, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Each chapter is devoted to an individual. Always readable, SOUL SURVIVOR reaches beyond that into more powerful air when the subject becomes more weighty (read: controversial). Chapters on Martin Luther King Jr., Paul Brandt, Mahatma Gandhi, and C. Everett Koop, in particular, I found the most enjoyable and enlightening. Yancey tells their tales in an honest manner, recognizing their shortcomings, and in doing so makes their examples all the more powerful.
As I read his (and their) story, I had to marvel at the grace of God, because Yancey has come a long way. No other person, outside of my parents, has had a greater influence on my Christian walk than Philip Yancey. Realizing that this same man was once a blatant racist (among other flaws which he is open about) amazes me. It also gives me hope, as it should his other readers, for if God can take a man and change him this much (using the influence of various authors and historical figures) it should help us to see the possibilities of what God can do in our own lives, as well as recognize the effect that our lives can have upon others.
SOUL SURVIVOR is not my favorite Philip Yancey book, nor is it his best (that title still belongs to WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE). But it is a fantastic, personal journey that I am so pleased to have been allowed to be a part of. If you are disillusioned by the institution of the church here is a book that will help you to see past those flaws to recognize how God really works through individual men and women. And that is what the church is really all about. FOUR 1/2 STARS.
The title of the book is very misleading. In reality it is a series of essays on people who had an impact on his life including Martin Luther King, G.K. Chesterton, Paul Brand, Robert Coles, Leo Tolstoy & Feodor Dostoevsky, Gandhi, Everett Koop, John Donne, Annie Dillard, Frederick Buechner, Shusaku Endo and Henri Nouwen. After an initial discussion of his own Church experience in the South, and some honest, direct, and often disturbing revelations about racism and prejudice, he launches into the essays.
Each section is written as a critique of the person's Faith and impact of Yancey and others. I found the sections on Paul Brand, Robert Coles and G.K. Chesterton, especially fascinating, as I had very little knowledge of their work prior to reading the book.
I would recommend this book, simply ignore the title and enjoy some wonderful insights into the Faith of some very interesting people. While Yancy spends too little time on the effects of the Church to warrant the title of the book, the insights are worth the effort.
I would highly recommend this book to folks who 1) want a great book to read 2) need to hear an open and honest perspective on the church in the life of a Christian and 3) for those who need to see that "going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than going to Mac Donald's makes you a hamburger," as Keith Green used to say.
Yancey does an excellent job of bringing the lives of Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Paul Brand, Dr. Robert Coles, Gandhi, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky into focus such that one can get a good view of what it means to be a Christian or live a Christian life based on the principles Jesus espoused while here on earth. It's an excellent book for a discussion class and has lots of tough questions along with examples of lives that went beyond the Pollyanna or cliché phrases you hear from many so called Christians. Read it, absorb it, and let its affect cover your whole being. I think you'll grow from it, I know I did.
Yancey does not pull any punches in recounting his past. From being raised in a narrow, racist, legalistic church, to the influences that changed him into the man he now is...it is all told here in Yancey's interesting, engaging manner.
I would give my left arm for more honesty in our nonfiction writers. Yancey achieves meaningfulness by confessing his past and present shortcomings in this book. It is a shame that we don't see such openness in more authors. Honesty is probably my favorite thing about Yancey as an writer.
I really enjoy Yancey's descriptions of those who have influenced his life. It was great to read about how Yancey's old writing partner Dr. Brand affected his life. I think my favorite part of the book is his profile of Annie Dillard. I have recently started reading Dillard myself, and I am blown away by her.
I recommend this book. I encourage you to get a copy today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent! Well thought out, written from life's experiences similar to my own.Published 1 month ago by DA
This was recommended to me by my sister, who read it about 20 years ago! I'm always up for a good read, so ordered it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Aletha C. Huffman
Having trouble hanging in there... reading this. I usually love Philip Yancey but this one is a bit disappointing.Published 2 months ago by Jean from California
A spiritually, emotionally and intellectually challenging book, that also manages to offer encouragement. Read morePublished 4 months ago by jean-paul
I thought this was so helpful, I bought a copy for every senior at our school. it's a great book to get informed about some really cool people, people of all types, and see the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by J Hegle
yancey writes about several people who have made a positive impact on his life. i loved this book.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a gift and the recipient has been very pleased with it. It goes above every expectation!Published 11 months ago by Viktoria