Tuesday Book Review: Carolyn Weber’s Surprised by Oxford

“What’s your take on Jesus? TDH asked simply. “Do you know much about Him?” “Of course I know Jesus,” I practically guffawed. “Everyone knows Jesus… It suddenly occurred to me that apart from the cliched images or flat memories, I did not know who this Jesus was in 3-D… Talking to TDH I suspected my background resembled countless others nowadays in North American culture. Lots of astrology, but little theology.”

TDH, shorthand for “Talk Dark and Handsome” breaks into Carolyn Weber’s world with his pointed questions and through those questions, God enters Carolyn’s life and turns it upside down and she is Surprised by God and His grace at Oxford University.

Written in a  flowing and, at times, fast paced, first person account of Weber’s conversations with TDH  and others about faith, Surprised by Oxford is a book that gives the reader a sense of how a person comes to faith who has major objections and issues about God and life and family and the relational pain in her family that is a major stumbling block for some in coming to faith.

This is a book that highlights the process of coming to faith and not just when though it is clear in her book of the moment she crosses the line from unbelief to belief. It reveals the doubts, the fears, the anger, and the uncertainty of those who wrestle with the assertions made by the Christian faith.

It is a contemporary account of Christian conversion and it is a contemporary account of a one person’s struggle to rectify belief in a Heavenly Father while struggling to love and maintain a very strained relationship with an earthly father as well as the current cultural perceptions of Christ and Christianity.

Weber’s account is an honest account of coming to faith. But it is not a straightforward account. And it is not a straightforward account because, as she clearly writes, coming to faith for her (and for others) is not a straightforward movement. It is a series of starts and stops, of twists and turns that appears, at times, to come to a complete stop. And this is one of the strengths of the book.

I like this book because it provides me, one who made a profession of faith in Christ over 45 years ago, with a very honest and helpful account of the issues and struggles that many people, like Weber, have in coming to terms with who Jesus Christ is.

I rate this book a ‘5’ a great read and recommend that you get it for someone who is struggling with faith issues.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as an ebook from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program called Book Sneeze (www.booksneeze.com) I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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