Wednesday, April 09, 2008

When Answers Aren't Enough: A Brief Review

Reviewing Matt's Book, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Well, it's about a week after I had initially told you about my friend Matt Rogers, and his new book, When Answer's Aren't Enough: Experiencing God As Good When Life Isn'tand I was among the many who ordered it last tuesday from Amazon. Last week, as a result of your purchase (if you bought it!), Matt's book soared to #1 in Christian living, #2 in theology, and #80 overall on Amazon's best-seller list. Thanks for helping my friend out and drawing attention to His book. If you are interested in buying a copy, you can grab one online here.

So I wanted to give you a little review of it, and even give you some other suggestions. First, Matt tips his hat off to a couple of personal mentors, Madeleine L'Engle and Philip Yancey. The former I'm less familiar with, but Yancey is probably best known for his books that deal with pain and suffering both physical and emotional including Disappointment With God and Where Is God When It Hurts.

Matt's book isn't a novel, nor is it really a long treatise on a subject loaded with theological terminology. It's a book of essays, meditations, and reflections on his life as he has walked through the intense suffering of being present for one of the biggest campus tragedies in history. Last April, Matt was sitting in a Starbucks 10 minutes away when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 other students and professors while injuring many more and then turned the gun on himself.

Matt, a pastor at a church of 800 students in Blacksburg, walks openly through his own anger as he saw people who were apparently trying to turn his campus into a circus during the time. He also expresses joy amid suffering as he witnesses people come together to care for one another during this difficult time in the history of his school.

Because his book is really a series of short meditations broken into three segments, it lends itself to being a fairly easy read. While the subject is anything but "easy," Matt concisely shares his frustrations, his fears, and his motivations and hope in his first book. I would strongly recommend this book to anybody who is feeling a bit jaded with their faith. Because it is broken down into very small chapters/sections, it makes it easy for a person to take their time through it, and not feel overwhelmed by the text.

One of my favorite concepts about the book is that he does give the answers to the tough questions--he takes about two paragraphs to do it. He then says that giving and knowing the right answers isn't that difficult--but he further states that walking into the middle of suffering and finding God's goodness in it can be a supreme challenge. Especially in a world where people are searching for and giving single paragraph sound bites to answer deep hurts of the soul.

I could write at length and speak very specifically about the details of Matt's book, but I would much rather hear your thoughts about it. I may write a longer review to be posted/shared elsewhere at a later date, but for now, I will simply say--give it a read and let me know what you think!

1 comment:

BigMama said...

I've got this coming in the mail. Looking forward to reading it and seeing what he has to say!