I’m going to do something here that I almost never do: write up my (final?) thoughts about a book I haven’t finished. I picked up Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend, a collection of Christian apologetics articles edited by Ravi Zacharias, who also wrote a few of the articles himself, back before Christmas for this month’s Reading to Know Book Club. It’s a long book with over 330 pages, and I have about 100 pages left til the end. I started the book back around Christmas time, when Steady Eddie was off work and I had plenty of leisure time, since neither our homeschool nor the university where I work part time was in session. While I have plenty of reading time now, considering how busy my life is, I find that my mind is not as capable of grasping complexities when it’s so overtaxed with small but necessary things, like where Louise’s reading book is hiding and how to teach Lulu geometry while simultaneously feeding the DLM oatmeal. Anyway, I’ll probably always look back on this book with fondness when I remember taking it along with me on mine and Steady Eddie’s first overnight getaway sans children (or at least one child!) since the birth of the DLM. (Does anybody else do this–associate books with places you visited while reading them, etc.?)
I have really enjoyed reading this book, and I count it and Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ Choosing Gratitude as the two things that helped me get myself back on track (by God’s grace) at the beginning of the year after a year of being run ragged. Of course, it’s not really the books themselves, but the messages contained therein that have the power to reorient a person’s life, and that only because they contain the truth of God in a format that I find compelling. The most memorable essay in Beyond Opinion for me is the one from section one entitled “Challenges from Youth” by Allison Thomas. Maybe it shows how immature my mind is (quite possibly so!), but I identified very much with what Ms. Thomas has to say about Christian students who go off to college to find their faith mocked and challenged, and how such college students can be prepared. I think the other thing that makes this particular article so compelling for me is the fact that I’m always thinking of how I can effectively communicate the truth of God to my children, even in the face of a world that scoffs at and challenges it. While I know I fail daily in really living out my beliefs before my children, I think there has to be some power in just recognizing that I’m not living up to it, right? I was also enlightened by reading about the challenges from other world religions, and I was heartened by the approach the apologists who wrote those particular articles suggest Christians take–that of finding the real heart hunger of people and offering Jesus as the only satisfaction for it.
I’m not doing a very good job of being specific about what I’ve gotten out of this collection so far. Honestly, I feel like the Professor could say the same thing about my education that he says about that of the Pevensie children at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when he says, “Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” Something has prevented me from exercising my brain to the point that I can even know how to follow some of the logical arguments presented in some of these articles, particularly the ones about philosophy. Whew! In all of my years of schooling, I’ve never learned this. I do think it’s worthwhile, but I’m not sure this is the point in my life at which I have the time (or excess brain power!) to tackle it. This is a book I should’ve read in small pieces, an article at a time, and made notes (maybe like my Reflections in Progress?) to help me process it. Instead, I read it in a hurry and still didn’t finish it in time for the book club!
Will I finish it? I hope so, eventually. For now I think it’s time to move on to lighter fare. I don’t think I do these works justice when I try to breeze through them, but right now I haven’t the amount of quiet time in my life to really grasp what these very erudite writers have to say. On the positive side, this book has made me more aware of and interested in Ravi Zacharias’ ministry, and I’ve even been listening to his podcasts while I’m cooking or cleaning.
Check out this post at Reading to Know to read others’ thoughts about this book.