Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: Ken Wytsma's The Grand Paradox

I decided to read this book because it was on Relevant Magazine's recommended list for 2015. The book was better than I expected with lots of in depth thoughts. Many books I've been reviewing seem to handle many thoughts without giving a conclusive direction, and this book succeeds in doing that. At times it can get a bit wordy, and I didn't walk away still thinking about the book, but it at least got me thinking in the moment about my faith, as I was reading.

Summary: Wystma tackles a lot of thoughts people struggle with regarding Christianity. He goes over how the happiness promoted by the world is contradicting to what Christ teaches, and how doubt can be a healthy part of growing in faith. He also discusses the struggles of the world, and how instead of trying to achieve not struggling, but learning how to grow from our struggles. As pastor at Antioch Church, and the president of Kiln College, Wystma uses his ability to teach to provide a clearer book on these topics that leaves the reader less baffled.

 Between Soren Keirgaard and C.S. Lewis quotes, it's difficult to know where their thoughts end and Wystma's begin. I almost felt some of the book was advertisement to go out and read their works, and just bypass on this book. This doesn't take away from the fact this book makes great points, and gives this a go to book to read.

It covers many thoughts you might get expanded in the books references in a more concise and cleaned up presentation.  I probably sounded like I was going in a negative direction with a reference, but I wasn't. This book becomes very philosophical, but no so much so it's difficult to wrap your head around. It will make you question how you're approaching your faith, and in the end how to better work with it and grow.

Another thought when reading, was how this book didn't read easy. For simple ideas the book seems to drift. I had a tough time getting through what was short ideas because the great ideas that aren't difficult to grasp, are presented in an overwhelming manner. Perhaps the author wanted to get scholarly for the everyday reader? Maybe the target isn't the everyday faith based reader?

What I like about the book is the true ideas presented without the author becoming self righteous. I've read several books that seem to wrestle with grand yet simple to explain ideas, and they come rambling and a bit judgmental. This one at least makes good to carry some weighty ideas for the everyday person.

It isn't the easiest read. I'm not sure why, but it can struggle to maintain the attention. It narrows down ideas you'll find with Lewis and Kierkgaard in a manner that you don't have to seek out their works to read unless you want to expand on it.

As for books recommended by Relevant, I can see why. It reaches to the audience they reach to, and it covers points in a way that appeals to the 20-30 demographic, and as someone in that demographic I got the appeal.

This book was provided by Book Look Blogger in exchange for a review.

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