O Me of Little Faith (review)

I must commend Jason Boyett for catching that most illusive of literary prey — readability.  His book (O Me of Little Faith:  True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling) is both interesting and enjoyable.  It is pleasant to read.  He combines vulnerability, humility, and self-disclosure with brief (possibly too brief) discussions of Christian apologetics.  All the while he tells interesting stories and provides funny illustrations.

This book provides a personal, ongoing journey through valleys of doubt and peaks of faith.  Along the way it provides wonderful gems of Biblical, cultural, and spiritual insight while also running into a few logical and Biblical potholes.

Boyett has a knack for observing the inconsistencies of modern American “churchianity.”  He rightfully notes that many of the intellectual and pragmatic objections to Christianity are answered unsatisfactorily by Christians (so-called).  For example, he notes the false god of “American evangelical Christian religion” who is “totally cool with the money we spend on concert lighting in the worship center while the widow down the block has a hole in her roof” (p. 129).

One of Boyett’s greatest strengths is also one his greatest weakness.  The reader is deeply empathetic with his doubt struggles and particularly interested in the answers he has found to deal with his rollercoaster of faith and doubt.  Unfortunately he either refuses to give answers by hiding behind the “I’m no theologian/scholar” excuse or giving examples of unsatisfactory responses he has found (e.g., Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell are not at the top of my list of credentialed, well-researched, exegetically qualified, and philosophically sound apologists).

Boyett takes issue with a hard deterministic view of God’s sovereignty, the philosophical “problem of evil,” and purely rational (as opposed to presuppositional) apologetics.  While this book cannot answer every philosophical issue of Christianity, I would have hoped Boyett could have offered a few alternative Christian views on these subjects.  The only intense objection I have with this book is the conflation of the Biblical perspective of doubt with Boyett’s personal doubts.  In the Bible various characters doubt the trustworthiness of the promises of God, but Boyett is doubting (it appears) the very existence of God.  I cannot find a Biblical character doubting the existence of God.

All-in-all reading this book is like sitting down for a drink with a close friend.  You are never exactly sure where the conversation will take you (e.g., church history, liturgy, sin, existentialism, apologetics, etc.) but you will be glad you had a chat.  Along the way you will be challenged and maybe even frustrated.  You will learn some good spiritual lessons and you will be encouraged to give voice to the questions and doubts with which you wrestle.

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