Wineskins Archive

February 12, 2014

The Journey: Our Quest for Faith and Meaning (May-Jun 2002)

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By Dawn Hagerman
May-June 2002

When preparing for a journey, the traveler packs lightly, only the necessities, so as not to break his back on the first leg of the trip.

“The Journey: Our Quest for Faith and Meaning” (NavPress, 269 pages) serves as a perfectly pre-packed knapsack for the traveler: not too heavy, not too light and filled to the brim with the absolute best grub to sustain him.

Released by the Trinity Forum Study Series and written by Forum senior fellow Dr. Os Guinness, “The Journey” offers readers a “roadmap” to help discover the meaning of life.

This book isn’t the run-of-the-mill, self-help nonsense that dilutes our bookstore shelves these days. Instead, it offers a clear, concise and inspiring path to digging through the questions so many have in this complex world.

Is Christianity the Way? Is Jesus Christ the risen Lord, or merely a prophet? If Christianity is the answer, why is there evil in the world? Where do Eastern religions fit in? All of these questions, and numerous others, are addressed in “The Journey.”

This book isn’t the result of one man’s perception of the meaning of life. It delves into the writings of reknown thinkers, including Plato, Blaise Pascal, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Luther King Jr., C.S. Lewis, Charles Darwin, Albert Camus and many more.

“The Journey” challenges the reader with exemplary writings to illustrate each point and question raised.

The book allows believers of different worldviews to speak for themselves. It doesn’t ignore what Buddhists or humanists proclaim. It presents their text, including exerpts from “The Gospel of Buddha” and “It’s All in the Playing,” by Shirley MacLaine. “The Journey” allows the reader to decide for himself. It is phenomenal.

Oftentimes, meaty books such as this are a bear to get through. However, being a Trinity Forum book, the volume is highly readable. It is set up to benefit every reader, young and old, at every level of education. It’s not dumbed-down, nor is it overwritten.

The legs of “The Journey”: A Time for Questions, A Time for Answers, A Time for Evidences and A Time for Commitment.

The chapters flow much the way a good college course would. Guinness, being the instructor, begins each chapter with topic introductions. He also provides thought-provoking “Points to Ponder” and will explain whatever term the reader might not know or wholly grasp, such as the concept of existentialism.

Guinness then presents brief author biographies, which are followed by exerpts from their writings. Scattered throughout the book, the reader will find applicable quotations from a variety of writers, philosophers and other well-known people. These carefully selected nuggets bring a broader understanding to the topic at hand.

For example, in Guinness’s “Point to Ponder: Truth — The New Obscenity,” in which he discusses how modern society lashes out against the concept of an absolute truth, the reader will find quotes from Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s brother), Friedrich Nietzsche, Winston Churchill and Richard Lewontin, a Harvard biologist. The quotes range from thoughtful to humorous, but all deal with the concept of truth.

Churchill’s humorous imput: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

College professors, church leaders, even students should seriously consider forming small group studies using this book. It’s a fabulous tool. It even provides discussion questions following each exerpt.

If you do want to lead a group, take a serious look at the reader’s guide, written by Karen Lee-Thorp, in the back of the book. It details how to lead a group, as well as establishing eight study session outlines. The outlines suggest a timeframe and offer questions to keep the discussion flowing. It also suggests how to troubleshoot problems small groups might encounter.

“The Journey” does not claim to offer proof that Christianity is the answer to the meaning of life. It offers evidences. It bring together a lot of serious thought and research. This volume gives the traveler a path to seek the truth, to find what makes the most sense.

It uses only exerpts from some of the best writing available. The whole text is out there for the truth seeker to continue the quest. At the end of the book, those interested will find a reading list for further study that will greatly aid in a continued search for the meaning of life.

To the seekers and travelers: pack well, have a fabulous journey and a most rewarding homecoming.

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