Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: How Now Shall We Live?

I'm not done with my taxes. Made little progress over a snowy weekend, but made excellent progress last night. So I now feel comfortable taking an evening to write things I enjoy, such as a book review of How Now Shall We Live? by Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcy [Tyndale House Publishers, 1999, ISBN 0-8423-1808-9]. I finished reading this on March 9, after having begun it Feb 11. I took a couple of more days to go through some of the notes that I skipped while reading, then brought it to the Dungeon to write my review. It sat docilely on my work table awaiting this day.

I picked this book up used, for $1.99, at some used book store. I bought it more because of Coulson's name and having liked the two or three of his books I've read before. I didn't really know what it was about, even from a little bit of reading on the dust jacket. It's about world view, specifically Christian worldview. So it agrees with a buzz-word topic of the 00 decade.

The book was somewhat heavy to get through, despite Coulson's and Pearcy's attempts at lightness and levity. Points of what a Christian world view consists of are illustrated with personal stories, both true and made-up, of people who lived out certain points: the New York cop who walked a beat and made a difference as he modeled Christ to those he encountered (true); a Hollywood producer who had to make choices about his films (fictional); and others.

Those were good. Actually, there's nothing wrong with the rest of the book. Coulson explains that everyone has a worldview, and that worldview must answer three primary questions:

Where did we come from and who are we?
What has gone wrong with the world?
What can we do to fix it?

This leads into the section titled per the book: How now shall we live (i.e., in response to answers to the first three questions)? Coulson and Pearcy do an excellent job presenting the Christian answers to the three primary questions, and backing those answers up with a variety of references, both scriptural and extra-scriptural.

The book has extensive notes, which serve as a sort of reference to the Christian worldview. In fact, the entire book is almost a reference book, rather than a reading book. Oh, you can't just jump into the middle, find a subject, and expect to use the book in refuting arguments against non-Christian worldviews--that is, unless you've already read the book. If you have, then you can use it as a pure reference book, with the excellent notes, index, and bibliography.

I will come back another day and write some more about this, as I don't think I've done it justice. It's 491 pages of text (plus notes, bibliography, and index) are, as I've said before, a bit difficult to sit with and read it cover to cover. But I'll give my standard wrap-up in this post, and save a more detailed analysis for another day. This book was definitely worth the price, and would have been at full price. It's a keeper, and shall be permanently in my library among its Christian counterparts. If you have not read much on worldview, this would be an excellent book to start with. Read it with concentration, and unhurriedly.

I would write more, but I'm anxious to write several other things tonight, including a political piece on friend Chuck's blog. The wife went to OKC today to help with daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. I went straight from work to critique group tonight, but was the only one to show up. Must have had my signals crossed. Now I must use the solitude wisely.

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