Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Soul Cravings – Erwin Raphael McManus

This work is an apologetic that assumes acceptance of the idea that the totality of faith is greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore what characterise it as being different from usual apologetics is that it does not seek to be reductionist with faith. Reductionist techniques seek to provide a response to questions and objections of the secular world; faith to McManus is the greatest longing of the human soul, spirit, emotion, mentality, and this is where he begins and grows his exposition of faith.

The book is written in four movements of journal entries under headings of 'Cravings', 'Destiny', 'Meaning' and finally 'Seek'. The book is not difficult to read, and flows easily in conversational style.

It took this reader two thirds of the work to begin to gain much from it. This bothered to a great extent and despite good willed intentions of the writer it looked as though this book was going to be ranked lower rather than higher. But as it was further read, the work began to open up my mind and soul and to recognise that when reading an emotive exploration one must accept that it cannot speak to every person all the time.

Through reading over the book you may need to reapply known learnings and already held understandings but eventually you will find a gem that grows you further. It was only in the fourth movement, its title 'Seek' in hindsight speaks exactly to this, the purpose of book became clear. The book is to encourage journeying in faith, if you have not yet begun it tells you to get started, if you have been a believer for a lifetime it tells you to keep searching and not be satiated with where your understanding is.

There is one major weakness. For the purposes of this work the level use of scripture quotations is appropriate, however I believe McManus does let himself down in trying to meet his objectives by quoting far too many philosophical statements. Statements requiring the reader to be either highly educated in niche topics such as classic literature, philosophy and history or be alienated by the work. When you are trying to appeal to the inner being of everyone, such alienation could be fatal to their continued reading.

Tangible apologetics of someone like Lee Strobel, where objectivity is prided and designed to respond to known objections are provided, remain required; however such a work does sit neatly beside reminding you that even though you may know everything, by definition God is God and always going to greater than human understanding. But you can still have faith, according to McManus, without answer to every question because your inner being wants it so much. Tennis Balls.

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