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Book reviews >

Elaine Storkey, senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall; president of Tearfund

‘I’ve just reread The Relation of the Bible to Learning, which I first read when I was a student, and when I was trying to work out the relationship between my Christian beliefs and academia. The book is penetrating: it teaches you how to ask the right questions, and bring a biblical perspective to life.

It is based on five lectures, and looks at the unity and diversity of the world around us, and the Word of God. It then examines the antithesis: the situation of the world today, and how philosophical systems have looked at the world. It alerted me to the problems in taking a philosophical basis outside of my faith.

This book says I can hold my spiritual life and academic study together. It shows me that the world is created purposefully by a loving God, and that I am not just a lost atom, but created as a full person. It is challenging, because it says that life is about heart; and if your heart wants to serve God, this will draw you into unthinkable pursuits. Academia is no longer a career, but a way in which I can serve God.

Ronald Rolheiser’s The Restless Heart is an honest and personal book that addresses you as you are, in broken personhood. It is about loneliness: the blues, alienation, homesickness, restlessness. Rolheiser invites us to embrace some kinds of loneliness (not those that damage our psyche); for, in a world that is separate from God, there will always be part of us that is lonely. We will find ourselves when we see him face to face instead of through a glass darkly.

Rolheiser pours in material from film, poetry, and literature; and shows how our culture is struggling with these questions.’

H. Evan Runner, The Relation of the Bible to Learning, is out of print; Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart, Hodder & Stoughton, £7.99 (£7.20), 0-340-86237-8

 

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