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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2014
In Tables in the Wilderness, Preston Yancey arrived at Baylor University in the autumn of 2008 with his life figured out: he was Southern Baptist, conservative, had a beautiful girlfriend he would soon propose to, had spent the summer living in southeast Asia as a missionary, and planned to study political science.
Then God slowly allowed Prestons secure world to fall apart until every piece of what he thought was true was lost: his church, his life of study, his political leanings, his girlfriend, his best friend . . . and his God.
It was the loss of God in the midst of all the godly things that changed Preston forever. One day he felt he heard God say, Its going to be about trust with you, and then God was silentand he still hasnt spoken. At least, not in the ways Preston used to think were the only ways God spoke. No pillars of fire, no clouds, just a bit of whisper in wind.
Now, Preston is a patchwork of Anglican spirituality and Baptist sensibility, with a mother who has been in chronic neurological pain for thirteen years and father still devoted to Southern Baptist ministry who reads saints lives on the side. He now shares his story of coming to terms with a God who is bigger than the one he thought he was worshipingthe God of a common faith, the God who makes tables in the wilderness, the God who is found in cathedrals and in forests and in the Eucharist, the God who speaks in fire and in wind, the God who is bigger than narrow understandings of his will, his desire, his planthe God who is so big, that everything must be his.
Preston Yancey is a lifelong Texan raised Southern Baptist who fell in love with reading saints, crossing himself, and high church spirituality. He now makes his home within the Anglican tradition. He is a writer, painter, baker, and speaker. An alumnus of Baylor University, Preston completed a masters in theology from St. Andrews University in Scotland before returning to the States. He currently lives in Waco, Texas.
Faith Hope and HomeschoolAge: 35-44Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Difficult to Follow at timesSeptember 28, 2014Faith Hope and HomeschoolAge: 35-44Gender: femaleWhile I am trying to remain unbiased, as this IS an advanced reader's copy, I must say this book was very difficult to get into. It seemed to hop all over the place. I kept plugging through hoping it was just the beginning, but quickly became bogged down and had trouble 'keeping up.'
lmbarteltMyerstown, PAAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5No ordinary memoirSeptember 24, 2014lmbarteltMyerstown, PAAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Generally, when I read a book, I want it make me feel better. To escape or offer a solution to a problem. But lately, the books I've been reading haven't lived up to that need.
They haven't made me feel better but they have made me feel.
And that's where I am with Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost and Found Again by Preston Yancey. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through the Booklook Bloggers program.)
I love Yancey's writing. His blog is one that I read whenever he posts something new. And it's always challenging, often poetic, and downright refreshing. The book is all of that, too, in its own way. I will admit to stumbling a little in the beginning because Yancey's writing is different than most. It's good, just not easy. As he talks about his spiritual journey from a know-it-all Southern Baptist entering college to a questioning Anglican on the other side of college, the stories and observations roll out, sometimes chronologically, sometimes not. The first time I read Annie Dillard and Anne Lamott, I felt this sort of disconnectedness in the flow but realized as I was reading that it was all connected and related after all. This book has a similar feel.
But it's a journey worth taking, and I found myself silently screaming "yes" to passages that reflected my own journey.
I'm telling you to notice, because at a certain point I stopped. At a certain point, I stopped noticing that God was moving all around me, and I believe it was this lack of attention on my part, this willingness to treat common the awe of the Almighty, that would eventually arrive me to a place where God withdrew. (39)
For me, reading this book was like drinking a glass of wine. On first taste, I am startled by the taste and I almost forget that I like it. Then I drink a little more and taste the flavors buried in the glass. And by the time I finish a glass, I am satisfied by the experience and not at all sorry.
Tables in the Wilderness is a book for pilgrims and seekers, for those who don't have faith figured out, who wonder if anyone else feels the same way. For those who question the tradition in which they were raised, who have more questions than answers. It's one man's spiritual journey but it contains valuable truths for those of us on our own journeys. You might not like everything he has to say, but his story is worth the telling.
KyliegirlMassachusettsAge: 45-54Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Too Earnest by HalfAugust 31, 2014KyliegirlMassachusettsAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2I struggled with this book. The author is very earnest, but he hides behind endless layers of metaphor and philosophy. At key moments in the book, he simply refuses to tell us what happened, lurching into poetic imagery or jumping to a different time and place. He's clearly trying to be lyrical, looking for artful ways of alluding to situations rather than trusting the actual story to carry the reader forward. It felt like he wrote this book too soon after it happened and lacked the confidence to tell the whole story. That said, though, I hope he keeps writing. This could be an engaging story if told with a bit more perspective. This book will mainly appeal to teens and twenty-somethings immersed in Christian culture who understand how one could spend one's college years debating with friends about baptism.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.