Uv Readers' Group - Soul Survivor By Philip Yancey

Posted at 21:39pm on 10th November 2008

Following a number of apologies, nine of us met in The Library, including three men this time! Celia (who was unable to be with us on this occasion) had, at my request, compiled a list of questions pertaining to the book – partly because I was tied up with work / being unwell / parents; partly because I think it’s good to have different people doing it.


Once again we had a lively and enjoyable evening in the comfort of The Grand. We opened with general discussion on our impression of Philip Yancey’s Soul Survivor which charted the journey of his Christian faith. As it is divided into chapters on the people who had most influenced the author, we all had our particular favourites. Mine was Henri Nouwen as he, like me, identified with many of the characteristics of an eldest child (see my blogs on the subject). We then moved on to sharing who, in our own lives, had shaped our Christian faith.


Questions on racial and social prejudice were raised as we looked at the renowned psychiatrist Robert Cole and the way in which he suddenly realised how he had looked down on his dormitory maid, while at the same time gaining A’s in his ethics course at university. We agreed that it was all-too easy to pay lip-service to this matter, inadvertently, while failing to endorse those in more ‘lowly’ positions than ourselves or, indeed, to go the other way and over-compensate for those of a different colour.


Paul Brand, the subject of the chapter titled Detours to Happiness, insisted that pain is of great value, citing the lack of feeling in leprosy – and resulting damage to fingers, toes and limbs – as proof. The consequences of pain in our own lives brought some interesting personal anecdotes, as did the matter on how renouncing material possessions and radically simplifying our lives might affect the development of faith. Then we came to the question on how our childhood experience had shaped our adult faith. It seemed, from the story of how one woman had been hauled before the deacons, as a twelve year old, for daring to wear a sleeveless blouse on a Sunday (which her mother had bought her) that my own lackadaisical non-Christian childhood had served me well. At least I came to faith with no hang-ups! We parted with a number of us promising ourselves that we would follow up on reading more about our favourite person. With a selection as varied as Martin Luther King and Leo Tolstoy to choose from, we should have plenty of reading matter lined up in the coming months!


Thursday 26th February 2009 at The Grand. From a selection of three books suggested ( Why Trust The Bible, Ewing; The Bible Jesus Read, Yancey; Eat This Book, Peterson) we felt it would be good to have a woman author for a change. Copies of Why Trust The Bible by Amy Orr Ewing will be available sometime after Christmas – to be advised.

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