On Marriage, On Birth, On Death (three titles in the series “How to Find God”)
by Timothy and Kathy Keller (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99)
In this time of peril and stress, when Covid-19 continues to spread across the benighted nations of Africa, many are faced very directly with question of what it is they believe and why. Many grow confused.
So these three small books are to be welcomed. The author is a Presbyterian pastor in New York, whose books have already sold two million copies worldwide. He has been called ‘a pioneer of the new urban Christians’.
As the titles indicate, these deal with those basic landmarks of life birth, love and death. These are experiences which all human share, and of which every tradition of Christianity has to speak. The author hopes to state in the briefest most accessible way what the basic beliefs of those who profess to be Christians, and perhaps many who do not – in these times ‘the anonymous Christian’ of some theologians must be considered too.
Keller writes from a particular view point, but his aim is a laudable one. There can be too much emphasis on what divided us – where passions easily manipulated á la Trump can easily be found – than what actually unites us in reality or in potentiality.
The brief texts are quickly read, but will take a life time to live. Now may be the time to begin for many”
Many who are not supposedly Christians, and might call themselves let us say humanists or ethicist, will be surprised that much in the Gospels – and it is in the Gospels that Christians find their Faith simply laid out – rather than in the long reaches of the Bible, which sometimes seem at odds with the words of Jesus.
The brief texts are quickly read, but will take a life time to live. Now may be the time to begin for many.
He supports his insights with very appropriate quotes from such people as C. C. Lewis.
Though cast in a very straightforward style, Keller and his wife provide a great deal of food for thought. As the world seeks to adjust to the present crisis, many are turning their minds to recovering a basic view that many can share.
A journalist recently asked President Trump was he an “Old Testament man or a New Testament man”. Trump found himself confused. But with the words of the Sermon on the Mount before us surely – a basic statement if ever there was one – we are all, in some way ‘New Testament’ people, people of the New Covenant?
Are we all, in our different ways, ‘new urban Christians’ too?