God, Who On Earth Are You?
By: Stephen McCarthy - Christian Alternative, $15.95
Description: The mysterious ĎOtherí that many of us sense and that Christianity - drawing on the life of Jesus - calls God, is the starting point of this book.
But, the Christian Churches are no longer conveying the wonder of the Christian mystery, the challenging nature of Jesusí message for the world but also Godís deep, merciful love for us and the invitation into a relationship with him through prayer or through other spiritual practices including pilgrimage.
Verdict: Church teaching has become tired and routine. It should be fundamentally renewed and their institutional structures reformed for todayís world.
Thus the bookís final chapters consider how Christians should engage with the seemingly intractable problems - from environmental destruction to the inhuman exploitation of many people and the obscene levels of inequality - that characterize society today.
An autobiographical thread runs through the text as the author, a committed Catholic Christian, draws on experiences and vignettes from his own life. The final conclusion is one of hope; God will not abandon us or his world, though we do not know how the future will unfold.
In this eye-opening, and ultimately enthralling four part book, McCarthy first ponders the age-old question Who Is God? before bringing us Having a Relationship with God, Jesusí Teaching as Religion, and finally Christianity in the World.
In what is a most profound and at its core honest deep dive into a subject matter that can not only create boundaries between discussions, let alone alienate people due to their lifelong beliefs, God, Who On Earth Are You?: Mystery and Meaning in Christianity today is also a highly intriguing rhetoric from author Stephen McCarthy (a deeply Catholic, physics-trained economist).
For as we know, even away from a real sanctuary, the church, made up of Godís people, is to teach biblical doctrine so we all can be grounded in our faith. The church is to promote fellowship, trust, faith and hope, especially in this pandemic season.
Therein, and at its ultimate core, The church is to be a place where believers can observe the Lordís Supper, remembering Christís death and shed blood on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
What McCarthy does is provide us an autobiographical thread of informative conscience that allows him to not only draw on his own experiences and personally offer up some of his own vignettes within, but also manages (in amongst all the to and fro of the subject matter) to draw a conclusional promise to all that no matter what, God will never abandon us or his world; something we can all take to heart and be embraced within the warmth of, I think you will agree.
About the Author - Stephen McCarthy is a cradle Catholic who studied physics in Oxford and then moved on to development economics. Taking early retirement to deepen his understanding of theology and spirituality, he walked the Camino de Santiago and followed the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. He lives in Schrassig, Luxembourg.
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