Reaching for the Invisible God, by Philip Yancey

I am not a pastor, but a pilgrim, septic with doubt." With this disclaimer, Philip Yancey embarks on another quest to tell the truth about the Christian life "without overselling it." He succeeds brilliantly, in no small part because he interprets the intricacies of his own faith journey so well. The language of journey saturates these pages. Readers get to walk and climb through all kinds of interesting terrain where Yancey's mind regularly treads.

He may not be a pastor, but Yancey writes with a pastoral heart about everyday struggles to trust a God whom we cannot see. That's why this popular theologian continues to sell so well. If "popular" means "readable," Yancey has mastered the art, presenting ideas with nuance and insight. His distaste for big inert words--words like omniscient, impassable and imperturbable, which he finds other theologians using to describe God--inspires his own desire for accessibility. Yancey asks the big questions simply, not simplistically. Problems are more interesting to him than solutions. Ambiguity always has a place in his pages.

The book's strategy is to identify helpful parallels between our human ways of relating to one another and our possibilities for knowing God. Just as we establish human relationships by first learning people's names, then spending time with them, giving gifts, making sacrifices, sharing happy and sad times, laughing and weeping, revealing secrets, making commitments, fighting, arguing and ultimately reconciling, so Yancey believes we get acquainted with God. The parallels are not exact, as God's infinity and invisibility guarantee. But the author is willing to explore at least the outlines of a comparison, given his tolerance for uncertainty and his respect for trust. He writes, "I have focused on a relationship with God from the human point of view [because it is] the only point of view I have."