The Thoughtful Guide to Faith

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Ages: Adult. Resource Types: Books.

Review & Commentary

2 thoughts on “The Thoughtful Guide to Faith

  1. Review

    The author says that his book was born out of his “frustration and embarrassment” as a vicar of a church in Norfolk, England. He was frustrated because when people came to the church for baptisms, weddings, funerals and community events, there was nothing for them to browse through that addressed reasons why a majority of people in his country have nothing to do with the church and Christianity. He was embarrassed because he did not know of any materials which dealt with some of the reasons and offered an intelligent introduction to the Christian faith. So he wrote a series of six short leaflets, each centered on a different question, “deliberately sharp and provocative,” in order to catch the attention of the casual browser. They were intended “for those who were on the edge of faith, either just inside or just outside, and who were wondering whether the Church actually had anything to offer them.” The demand for the leaflets was high and the response positive, which encouraged him to write this book.

    The author also understood his work in a broader theological and social context. In England, the dominant voice representing Christianity comes from the Evangelical wing of the Church which, in America, would be identified as ranging from conservative to fundamentalist. It is his belief that this is the voice that is heard by outsiders and taken to be the only brand of Christianity available. Some people are attracted by what they hear, while others are turned off, never to tune in again. He is concerned that the liberal, progressive voice of Christianity be heard so that “there is a possibility that interested outsiders may find someone who speaks to them on whatever is their particular wave length.” He writes,”Unless liberals are prepared to stand up and get shot at, the future of intelligent Christianity is bleak.”

    He designed his book to “address the many very good objections that people have to Christianity”. It contains thirty seven self contained chapters, each of three to six pages in length, on such topics as Thinking about God, Prayer, the Creed, Miracles, Faith and Doubt, Sex, Silence, Fundamentalism, Forgiveness, and Quantum Theology. The writing is conversational, illuminating and at times provocative. He writes, “the book comes with a warning: it is not intended for those of nervous disposition, or those who are easily shocked. Rather: it is for those who, as members of the faith community or as interested onlookers, are depressed and mystified by much that goes on in the name of Christianity.” It would be an ideal resource for discussion groups for those inside or outside the Christian faith community.

    I have a caveat about the title. It is eye catching (probably the publisher’s idea) to use the title, The Thoughtful Guide To Faith. It would be more appropriate to use the title A Thoughtful Guide To Faith. In any case, it is a reliable guide to a renewal of Christianity and the Church.

  2. Review

    Review of The Thoughtful Guide to Faith, by R.T. a simple old man, from South Africa.

    Forty odd years ago I asked a Presbyterian Minister whether I should subject my three small children to Christening or Infant Baptism. He told me that it was ‘not necessary but bloody important’. For the same rationale, over the years, I have been searching for a Christian faith or church that will accommodate my thinking. Today, I am just an old man who asks too many questions.

    My son, who is educated and successful, is always trying to sell me his brand of Christianity. (Maybe sell is too intense a word). It does worries him and it did worry me; why I cannot get my simple mind around some of the things he believes in. And then very recently I read Tony Windross’s refreshing book, The Thoughtful Guide to Faith.

    Windross’s book is clear and lively. It is directed at fellow Christian travelers, like me, who want reasonable answers. It would be suitable for religious outsiders, as well, who would normally bypass Christianity, because of the language and many ignorant claims some Christian brands make.

    The author, a practicing Anglican priest, shares his thinking on God, the Bible, Prayer, the Soul, Sin, the Meaning of Life and Quantum Theology, amongst the thirty-seven fascinating topics/chapters. After each chapter I found myself thinking, ‘now that issue, should no longer be a problem’.

    For me, the book is an answer to a prayer, for anyone who takes Christianity seriously but not dogmatically, and who might be concerned that ‘it’ will disappear as a brand of religion, in the not to distant future.

    Yes, it is an extremely helpful book that reassures you- it is okay to be a Christian with question marks.

    It is going to be unfortunate that even if or when I recommend this delightful book to my son to read he will, I assume, reject it without even attempting to read it. It will be evil, and made an entity. This difficulty, together with the too many assumptions I make, are all covered in the book.

    Lastly the author, Tony Windross unashamedly lets the reader know that his book comes with a Health Warning: ‘it is not intended for those of nervous disposition, or those who are easily shocked!’

     Get a copy of it. Read it. You will love it.

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