Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Believing

Just have faith. Yea right. Easier said than done. The word faith means trust as in if you trust someone very deeply. Faith is like walking in the dark putting one foot in front of the other hoping that you will keep going forward. Faith is the story of the Israelites wandering around in the desert for forty years not knowing whether or not they'll get the promised land, but they kept going anyway. Faith is tricky. It is also a life-long process too.

In his new book called Believing (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2013), Eugene Kennedy takes up the mantle of faith and creates an extended essay of sorts on this notion of faith and belief. Kennedy is a professor emeritus from Loyola University in Chicago and the author of over fifty books in psychology and religion and has won many awards as well.

Believing is organized around nine chapters, each taking up a different aspect of faith such as incarnational faith, doubting, creative faith, and faith and life.

After reading this book one is left with more questions than answers, something which Kennedy notes is not a bad thing. A healthy dose of doubt is actually good for us! He warns us about people who think that they have all the answers, they are filled with hubris! Unfortunately the institutional Church, which also comes up from time to time in this book, often does seem to have all the answers to our questions and leaves little room for doubt. Doubt says Kennedy, allows humans to grow and expand and keep asking questions which propels us forward. Doubt is not bad, it just is what it is. He mentions that one of the major problems with the institutional Church is that it has not left enough room for doubters, people like theologians, artists, writers, poets who keep pushing the limits of knowledge. Very often these people are pushed aside and their voices are not heard. Kennedy calls for a new and vigorous support of these people since it is this creativity that is needed now more than ever.

Believing is a book which is short enough to read in a few hours but a book which will make you think for several weeks! It seems when we read the gospels for examples Jesus more often than not does not answer every question but he actually answers by asking a question himself, passing the ball into the inquirers court. If Jesus himself does not answer all questions why should be think different.

If you are interested in faith and the many aspects of it than read Kennedy's new book, you might leave scratching your head in the end and that's okay too, it just shows that you are a thinking person.

For more information about this book click here