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    The Peaceable Kingdom

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    The Goldsworthy Trilogy: Gospel & Kingdom, Gospel & Wisdom, Gospel & Revelation

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    Grace and Law: St. Paul, Kant, and the Hebrew Prophets

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The Un-Right Christians

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Unhappy Secrets of the Christian Life

As some of you might know, I am desperately looking for a job at the moment. When putting together my resume, I decided to add a section on books or professional programs that have impacted my life both personally and professionally.

As I reflected on this, I found that the list was just too long, and decided to move it over to the right column of this blog. I soon realized that there were many other books that I had read over the years that impacted me in different ways.

One of these was Unhappy Secrets of the Christian Life by Tim Stafford and Philip Yancey. As a teenaged Christian, I picked this non-descript book up at the local bookstore and found within its pages filled with gems of truth and practical advice. It dealt with legalism, faith, doubts, fears, racism, sex, and a multitude of other "unhappy secrets" that can confront a Christian.

Most of all, it underscores that authentic Christianity means not having to put on any masks. Reading the book has helped to shape much of my faith and helped me to understand what it means to take my faith seriously and apply it to all areas of my life.

One story that stuck in my mind from the book is a description of a Bible Study group where the author (I think it was Stafford) was the leader. The group went round describing what they understood to be a Chrsitian. Each group member used words like, "justified believer", "regenerated", "disciple" and so on to try to distill their understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

One of the group's members was a non-Christian who had been coming along to the study for several weeks. When it was his turn to answer the question, he said something to the effect of,
"I don't know why you guys make such a great deal about what it means to be a Christian. I thought the only difference between you and me is that you know you are a sinner and I don't!"
Interspersed between the chapters of the book are short excerpts and photos laid out like a magazine. I was thinking the other day, how much that book would be of help to my teenagers but then they may not relate to the 70's look and feel of the book and its photos/stories. I wonder if there an equivalent book with as powerful a message about authentic faith that is appropriate to Gen-X'ers and Gen-Y'ers of today.

Oh by the way, do you have a book that has impacted you in a special way that you would like to share?