Monday, February 18, 2008

Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus

Every once in a while I read a book that reminds me why I am a Christian. Erwin Raphael McManus' book, Soul Cravings, is the latest book to do just that for me. It isn't so much that he gave me a profound thought of what it means to follow Jesus, or that he inspired me with a tale of a life lived for Christ, but that he got into my head and made me ask, like Peter, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life."

In the book, McManus draws on three soul cravings--intimacy, destiny, and meaning--and shows how these cravings in our soul point us to God. Each section is broken into twenty or so 2–3 pages chapters, so you can easily read one chapter a day and spread the book out over several months.

McManus' book was a great reminder to me of why I believe what I believe. I like to read stuff written from perspectives other than my own. I suscribe to atheist podcasts so that I am informed about the latest arguments against what I believe. I understand that Christianity is not an airtight philosophical system--there are some holes that are not easy to seal. At the same time, I think that the same can be said about any religious or philosophical system out there, and I have found Christianity to be the most satisfying of all of them. I haven't been impressed with any of the philosophical "proofs" for God's existence, and I certainly haven't been convinced by any of the "proofs" for His non-existence. I think that I am a Christian because deep down in my soul, I just know there is a God out there. That answer may not be too impressive to a modernist, but I think it's the most honest answer someone can give for why they believe what they believe.

In his book, Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton wrote, "The man who cannot believe his senses, and the man who cannot believe anything else, are both insane, but their insanity is proved not by any error in their argument, but by the manifest mistake of their whole lives." It's amazing how a brilliant person with sound logical reasons for believing he believes can prove himself wrong because his life screams "I have no idea what I'm talking about." I think the opposite is true of Christ. His sanity was proven by the manifest "truth" of his life. There is something about Jesus Christ that makes me say, "He was right."

Like McManus, I find the most satisfying answer in my quest for intimacy, destiny, and meaning, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that I am a spiritual being, created by a spiritual God. I believe that this world is not as it should be. I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth from the Father, that He showed us the way that we are supposed to live, that he died to overcome the power that death has over the world through sin, and that God raised him from the dead to vindicate him as Christ and Lord. I believe that God is reconciling the world now through Jesus, and that the church has a major role as God's redeeming influence on the world.

Enough of my soap box. Thank you, Erwin McManus, for writing such a great book. Buy it.

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