This week a writer friend, Ed Cyzewski, released a new book titled, A Christian Survival Guide. I had the privilege of getting a pre-release copy to review it, so here’s my review. I posted an interview with him earlier this week, so this is a follow-up to that post. At first, I thought, "do I really need to read this?" I’ve been a Christian believer for a few decades and done ministry most of my adult life. As I dove into the book, I found myself getting more and more drawn in by Ed’s writing style and content.
Ed has a great combination of genuine openness about his own struggles with faith, and self-effacing, sometimes biting humor. It makes what could be heavy reading into a thought-provoking exploration of some areas of faith that are difficult for many.
Even the book’s chapter titles and subtitles are engaging. It starts off with “Prayer: A Still Small Voice for Big Loud Problems,” where Ed shares some of his issues with prayer shared by most of us. "Violent Bible Stories: Deliver Us from God?” is one of my favorites. Especially as we look at the world around us today, it’s relevant in both a personal and cultural sense.
“The Bible and Culture: Less Lobster, More Bonnets,” is another favorite of mine. It deals with literalism and culture in a humorous way. The book has two parts—Christian Beliefs and Practices. I like that there’s a practical, as well as, theological view of the Christian faith. In the practical part, issues such as sin, money, church community, evangelism, and the Holy Spirit are looked at.
Although I don’t struggle with the Christian faith in general, I appreciate the insight gained in this book. For those of us who have been believers a considerable time, it’s easy to get into a rut or become oblivious to what others may struggle to understand about God and faith.
This isn’t just a book for young believers. It’s a genuine look at the Christian faith, and questions or issues that get debated, yet aren't always discussed with openness and honesty. I believe Ed does that in this book.
He does not give trite nor clichéd answers. In fact, he makes a point of encouraging discussion and reliance upon God to gain answers. Ed doesn’t skirt difficult issues, but lays them out to consider, perhaps for some of us, in a new light.
I’m glad I read A Christian Survival Guide. It’s given me a fresh look at things I’ve set aside, and given me a new outlook about the faith struggles I once had. It’s also a good reminder of how to encourage others in their faith.