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Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey is written for those of us who have sometimes struggled with institutionalized religion. I thought it would be a lot of commiserating about the challenges of being part of a Christian church, but instead Yancey chose to write chapters about the 13 people who most inspired him and helped him see what a real religious life looks like. People covered in these mini-biographies include Martin Luther King, Jr., Annie Dillard, Feodor Dostoevsky, Mahatma Gandhi, John Donne, and Shusaku Endo. Strongly recommend it!
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Christianity comes under attack because of the gross failures and hypocrisy of those who often go out of the way to boldly claim that Christianity is true. This book isn't going to "win" a skeptic who already concludes that the hypocrisy of those who often stand in the media's spotlight as representing "true Christianity". This book does give that skeptic and people who are wondering if there is any credible faith worth believing something to ponder, a counter-balance to those who seem to promote, and enjoy promoting every serious flaws in people of this faith as justification for rejecting this faith. Yancey is honest, transparent, and doesn't white-wash anyone's failures. However, Yancey does provide context, important context, that anyone who is willing to extend their "open-mindedness" into staying open to Christianity, despite adherents whose gross failures undermine this faith's credibility. The first chapter on Martin Luther King alone is worth the price of this book.
"Soul Survivor" is a great book, worthwhile of time invested to read, regardless of whether you believe or do not believe the Christian message. Thanks Philip for another honest look at a topic in a way few others would even approach. Doug Ehrlich
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