Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review Small Faith Great God

I am hooked on the writings of N.T. Wright. A few years ago our parish prayer group focused on his previous book, Suprised by Hope (Harper Collins, 2009). While not a quick read, we really dug deep into Wright's prose, talking and reflecting upon death, the afterlife, heaven, and the Kingdom of God. When I saw this new book, Small Faith Great God I knew I would like it right away.

Wright, recently retired as the Archbishop of Durham (England) and is now a professor of New Testament Studies at the University of St. Andrews in England. His many years as an Archpastor and as a New Testament scholar serves him well as an author, speaker, and pastor.

Small Faith Great God is a small book, only 130 pages or so but it packs a punch. The chapters are revised talks and sermons that Wright delivered years ago, only now to see the light of day as a collection of his thoughts about the concept of faith and what it means today. The chapters focus on key biblical themes from the New Testament as we read about Moses, Abraham, Ruth, and the Virgin Mary. Wright includes many scriptural examples but not so much as to be burdensome.

I was a bit suprised though that even in the revised manuscript Wright didn't include more pastoral stories or events that would support his writing. Wright has a fine writing style that is easy to follow but his many years as a pastor would have provided him with some rich insight into the human condition. I was wanting to see more examples of present day faith in action other than just what some of the New Testament texts say. I always enjoy spirituality books that also include stories or vignettes to support their commentary, it makes the reading more interesting.

Also, since this book is probably marketed towards a lay audience it would have been nice to have a series of questions or a short "readers guide" at the end for group discussion. I envision that many parishes will use Small Faith Great God as a Bible study.

Readers look forward to future books by Wright as he enters a new phase of his ministry.