Monday, January 21, 2013

BookPastor >> "Grace Notes" (Philip Yancey)

TITLE: Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim
AUTHOR: Philip Yancey
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009, (434 pages).

I observe a pattern. When an author has written a number of bestselling books, or if the author himself has gained a fair amount of popularity, publishers will want to continue to milk the author's fame by putting out re-prints of classic portions of the previous works. "Grace Notes" is one of them. It is a collection of writings by the very popular Christian writer, Philip Yancey. Called "Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim," this book is essentially a daily devotional to last an entire year.True enough, the publisher initiates this project to encourage the author to leaf through more than 20 books and articles, written over a span of 30 years, in order to put together 366 pages of readings. Seasonal themes help move the reader along the four seasons of the year. Significant events like 9/11, elections, and memorable dates are considered when the daily reading is considered.

Philip Yancey's writings have long been known to be clear and provocative. These notes, though short are often windows into some of Yancey's scintillating analysis and brilliant insights. Each daily reading begins with an interesting flashback or an observation of ordinary life events. It asks questions. It analyzes ordinary struggles of faith. It raises issues of faith and spirituality. It typically concludes with some form of pointing toward the grace of God in Christ Jesus.  There are at least four ways to use this book. The first way is to read it based on sources, like all the collections from any one particular book. This method allows readers to follow the sub-themes accompanying that book. The second way is by looking at the titles of each day's readings. For example, February 16th's reading of "The Hardship Ladder" offers five short quips on the different approaches to suffering. May 22nd's reading of "Why I Don't Attend a Megachurch" may appeal to people asking questions of small, large, and megachurches.  The third way is essentially to read the book based on the day we read. Of course, there is a fourth way. Straight through.

Whichever way, or ways you choose, some of the articles in this book are bound to trigger a reaction in readers. For those of us who loves Yancey's writings, this book is definitely a collector's item.


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