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This review is from: What Is the Point of Being a Christian (Paperback)I bought this for my daughter a few years ago, and pulled it off her shelf for some Lenten spiritual reading (somewhat belatedly, as I didn't get round to starting it until Easter afternoon). It's an excellent, thought-provoking account which starts with a gentle reminder of (what should be) one of the characteristics of the Christian life: an attractive and intriguing freedom that excites the curiosity of others. The author follows that by sharing his insights into the nature of things like suffering, compassion, justice, community and love. These are huge topics, but they're tackled with an ease that draws the reader along as the differences between the Christian perspective and that of the secular, materialist world is highlighted. Take, for example, this answer (p78) to a question that's been asked in every generation:
"Why is waiting so much part of being a Christian? Why cannot God just give us now what we long for, justice for the poor and perfect happiness for us all? [...] One reason why our God takes so much time is because he is not a god. Our God is not a powerful celestial superman, as sort of invisible President Bush on a cosmic scale who might come bursting in from the outside. [...] God comes from within. He is, as St Augustine said, close to us than we are to ourselves or, as the Qur'an says, closer to us than our jugular vein."
Some might think it surprising to find an reference to the Qur'an in a book written by a Catholic priest, but it easily falls within his wide scope here (for example, he frequently refers with great approval to the words of Rowan Williams, who was Archbishop of Canterbury when this book was written). Those of us who've heard Fr Radcliffe's sermons might have perhaps felt the need to take some of his wise and generous words away to ponder: this book satisfies that very well.