O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling
Can Christians doubt and still be Christians?If youre a follower of Jesus, this question has probably been bandied about in your head more than once. In fact, I would say out of all the questions I have about faith, this question carries the most weight because it is the question that all others hinge on.In his newest book, Boyett confronts this topic in a way that is honest, flexible, and refreshing. The thing I like most about this book is that it doesnt answer the questions; actually if anything, it asks more questions. It explores the relationship between faith and doubt, searching for a flexibility of grace, a compassionate space where you can follow Jesus even when you have no clue what Hes doing and arent sure you entirely trust Him.Growing up in a conservative church where people seemed to audibly correspond with God, Boyett struggles to reconcile this idea that God is as present or as involved as we may think. If God worked so hard to get us that parking spot, then why isnt He in Africa, providing for the 30,000 people who will die today because they dont have clean water? If God loves us, then why is making decisions so risky, difficult and fraught with failures?His conclusion is based around the idea of a hidden God that manifested in the physical presence of Jesus on earth a sentence that examines a God that is far more mysterious and complex than the Americanized Christianity of the last 100 years. As Boyett wrestles with this idea, his thoughts and explorations of it are rough-edged, hard and demanding. The entire book stretches grace to a point that one might think it would break; but instead, it teaches that doubt keeps our faith healthy. It brings us back to the dirty, humble feet of a grace thats big enough to handle our doubt. This book reminded me that Jesus never asked us to give up our doubt; instead, He simply invites us to walk with Him and offers to carry our doubts for us.I would highly recommend to this book.
May 9, 2010
This book is exactly what the title suggests. Its the recounting of one mans journey with God and doubt. Jason Boyett is very forthcoming about his story. I found this honest account of his ongoing battle with doubt refreshing. Too many times we either brush our doubt under a rug and pretend everythings fine or just refuse to acknowledge it altogether. At least thats the case with me. More and more Im unable to ignore the doubts that creep up. (Mom, dont worry, thats not a proclamation of leaving the faith.) I have to meet them head on and either overcome them or learn to live with them, as the author does. The thing that I found so beautiful in this book was the choice that he makes to believe even when things are unbelievable. Thats the hope that I came away with. Even when you cant wrap your head around a concept, you can still choose to have faith.Choose to have faith. Thats what I want. Thats what I choose. Every day.
May 6, 2010
"I am a Christian. I have been a Christian for most of my life. But there are times -- a growing number of times, to be honest -- when I'm not entirely sure I believe in God. There. I said it."With those words Jason Boyett's new book O Me of Little Faith invites us into the ever lingering, yet overly controversial topic of doubt. This exploration of doubt takes the reader beyond Boyett's typical writing seen in the popular Pocket Guides. Here, Boyett explores the topic of doubt with deep questions and thought-provoking answers. A self-described doubter, Boyett's goal in this collection of essays isn't meant to sway readers into the abyss of doubt, but rather to invite readers to see doubt as piece of the overall mystery of God's existence.Throughout the book we see relevant stories and experiences that help us connect to the book's overall theme. These stories and examples are told with great humor and candor. Instead of providing us with definitive answers or "proof" that will ultimately increase our faith, Boyett goes a route that leaves the door open for further questioning. The purpose behind this is to invite the readers to "work out their own faith with fear and trembling." Boyett's work isn't the work of an apologist or investigative journalist; rather, Boyett writes from the perspective of a fellow pilgrim who happens to have big questions. O Me of Little Faith is without a doubt (pun intended) one of the better books I've read this year. It is not overwhelmingly academic, but it is also not overwhelmingly simplictic. Boyett takes you deep without leaving you to drown. His exploration of doubt is welcomed because he comes with questions that don't necessarily get answered, but leave the door open to the possibilities. Indeed, isn't that what faith is? Not that we have it figured out, but that we leave open the possibility that God is in fact at work in this world? Boyett seems to think so... and I agree with him.
May 4, 2010
Jason Boyett's book is interesting and enjoyable. It is pleasant to read. He combines vulnerability, humility, and self-disclosure with brief discussions of Christian apologetics and humorous dialogue.This book provides a personal, ongoing journey through valleys of doubt and peaks of faith. Along the way it provides wonderful gems of Biblical, cultural, and spiritual insight while also running into a few logical and Biblical potholes.Boyett has a knack for observing the inconsistencies of modern American "churchianity." He rightfully notes that many of the intellectual and pragmatic objections to Christianity are answered unsatisfactorily by Christians (so-called).One of Boyett's greatest strengths is also one his greatest weakness. The reader is deeply empathetic with his doubt struggles and particularly interested in the answers he has found to deal with his rollercoaster of faith and doubt. Unfortunately he either refuses to give answers by hiding behind the "I'm no theologian/scholar" excuse or giving examples of unsatisfactory responses he has found.Boyett takes issue with a hard determinism, the "problem of evil," and rational apologetics. While this book cannot answer every philosophical issue of Christianity, I would have hoped Boyett could have offered a few alternative Christian views on these subjects. The only intense objection I have with this book is the conflation of the Biblical perspective of doubt with Boyett's personal doubts. In the Bible various characters doubt the trustworthiness of the promises of God, but Boyett is doubting the very existence of God.All-in-all reading this book is like sitting down for a drink with a close friend. You are never exactly sure where the conversation will take you but you will be glad you had a chat. Along the way you will be challenged and maybe even frustrated. You will learn some good spiritual lessons and you will be encouraged to voice your own questions and doubts.
May 3, 2010