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31 July 2012

"Faith and Other Flat Tires" - A Book Review

I've had the opportunity to read and review a new book by Andrea Palpant Dilley: Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt. There was no pressure to give the book either a glowing or under-a-bushel review.

Watch tomorrow for your opportunity to win a copy of the book! The "contest" will begin tomorrow and will be open for three days.

Normally when one reads a book of this kind (a memoir you'd find in the "Christianity" section of a book store), it's expected that the author should have the whole thing (whatever the topic of the book is) figured out. I found it refreshing that this isn't really the case with Dilley's book. Rather, the work takes the reader on a journey through life right up to the current moment. It is about the journey more than the destination.

The back of the book has a blurb: "A story of crisis and redemption, humor and candor... for anyone driven to the margins by skepticism and doubt." That should make it clear that this is not a devotional book. And of course, not everyone is a skeptic and not everyone doubts. If that describes you, this is a good way to get your feet wet in learning how many people think.

Throughout the book, Dilley (whose family lived as missionaries in Africa for the first part of her life) recounts several stories that are quite moving and often lead into one of the most-asked questions about God's existence: How could a good God allow so much evil? -- the problem of evil. In addressing this in the book, we're made aware of "the problem of good," which can flip the problem of evil on its end.

The book is easy to read (not because it uses little words, but because of the flow of thoughts). However, it's also easy to put down when it's time to eat, take out the garbage, or whatever, and I'm undecided as to whether or not that's a good thing. I appreciated the humor and intelligence of the author, which was apparent in writing style, literary references, and at times an almost self deprecating awareness.

The pace was a bit plodding at times, which is not at all unusual for this sort of book, but I believe it would have benefited from a little more energy. However, we're invited to walk through life alongside the author, and from that perspective the pace is very natural.

If you enjoy apologetics and don't shy away from difficult questions, or if you wrestle with doubt and those difficult questions, you'll find Faith and Other Flat Tires an especially enjoyable read.


Wayne said...

Sign me up. One of the 99.864467% of Christians who have faith issues but .000000467% who admit it.

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