Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book Review: Beyond Opinion

I don't know what I was thinking when I requested to review Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias.  What I wanted was an easy read that would make me think.  This isn't it.  What I probably needed, though, was something that would really make me stop and mull things over.  So maybe requesting this was the right thing.

I have to confess:  I have not finished the book.  I got partway through, realized I'm not 'getting it' because I'm not reading it like I should, and I started over.  Now that I've slowed down, I'm absorbing a lot more.

The book is actually written by the team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries... with Zacharias serving as general editor, and writing the introduction, two chapters, and the conclusion.  A dozen or so others, mostly members of the ministry team, write the remaining chapters.  For instance, the chapter on Islam is written by Sam Solomon, who is on "the frontline of ministry to the Muslim world."  Alison Thomas, who works primarily with students and young professionals, wrote the chapter on youth.

In reading the section on Hinduism in the Eastern Religion Chapter (written by L. T. Jeyachandran, the executive director of RZIM Asia-Pacific), I was impressed.  A couple years ago, we were studying the Eastern Hemisphere, and I have to confess, Hinduism seriously confused me.  This section did a great job of explaining to me why I was confused.

I think that is the beauty of this book. Essentially, it is a collection of essays, each written by an expert in that area, which blends together into an amazing whole.  And some of those essays are a little easier to absorb than others, probably the ones dealing with subject matter I'm a bit more familiar with.

This is a book about relationships, not arguments.  There was a line somewhere around where I stopped reading and started over about apologetics being more like a marriage proposal than garage sale negotiation.  Talking to non-believers shouldn't be about winning a debate or getting the best of a bargain. 

It is frustrating to be posting a review of a book I have not finished, but reading it just to be able to review it was not giving me a lot of understanding.  I need to be free to seriously slow down.  I can't imagine my opinions will change once I finish it, aside from being even more convinced that every Christian household ought to read this.  And it is a great reference.  Read the chapters that apply to you right now.  Pick up other chapters as you meet someone new.  It does not need to be read from cover to cover.

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here

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