Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BOOK: "Rumors of Another World" by Philip Yancy

Just finished reading "Rumors of Another World: What On Earth Are We Missing?" I really enjoyed it. It's sort of a post-modern look at natural theology (natural theology is discerning the existence and character of God simply through our observance of thing in an around us and without primary reliance on any sacred scripture as authoritative).

Unfortunately or fortunately, I have a fairly skeptical nature. This often pokes at my faith. In "Rumors," Philip Yancy takes a look at what we see in the world to see if it matches what the Bible teaches. He also looks at several "natural" phenomena -- such as sex, guilt and altruism under horrific oppression -- and sees in them rumors of the spiritual world around us which is not available to direct observation.

One great point in "Rumors" is how to view the commandments of God. If we live a purely materialistic existence, many commands of God seem on the surface to be dictates of the cosmic killjoy. If we only look forward to our spiritual existence in heaven, then we are putting off today's pleasures for tomorrows joys. Yancy's assertion is that this is generally a false dichotomy. God's instructions come to us not only -- or even primarily -- as rules defining sin but more as instructions toward the best life. God made sex. God wants us to have the best sex possible. Sex is best experienced in marriage. Guilt (properly) is a sensitivity in our soul alerting us to areas of brokenness or weakness just as pain in our physical bodies is a gift from God that keeps us from damaging ourselves further. God's instructions bring the best life in every sense, not just in the 'spiritual' sense.

The end result of this book is Yancy's assertion that we need to see life with "stereoscopic vision." The question is not whether earthly live matters more or heavenly life matters more. They are both intricately intertwined. We can see this when we have eyes to see. Both worlds exist. Both worlds matter. We live in both worlds right now, even though we see one with our eyes and one with our spirits.

I highly recommend "Rumors of Another World" by Philip Yancy. If you are in the area, you may borrow my copy.

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