Ken Wytsma’s latest, The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith, is not another “here’s the real answer” amid the myriad of “conspiracy” titled books about Christianity and/or the Christian faith that have been released in recent years; it’s a “both-and,” “wrestle with the tension,” “it’s okay to have honest doubt” book that is sure to help and encourage both those who currently struggle with their faith and those who could use (need?) that every-so-often, honest look at their current state of being with our creator. Ken has written in an easily accessible manner by which anyone should be able to understand the book’s message without being further confused by his or her own paradoxical state. For some, it may answer, rework, and/or redirect questions, perhaps even give from another’s perspective the permission needed to simply have questions; what it won’t do is encourage the kind unhealthy doubt and skepticism that comes from a position of insincere and dishonest inquiry. This one comes highly recommended by the six pages of endorsements at the beginning of the book (maybe not as over-the-top as I initially thought) and myself. Read, enjoy, and be uplifted.
In a more personal note, I received a copy of the book from Ken over two weeks ago to review and take part in the book launch. Due to other obligations and reading that didn’t get done as soon as I’d planned, I didn’t get to it until today—the day of the launch! So, first things first, I hit my usual spot in the café on the campus of a local Christian college where I like to spend time interacting with students, many of whom use the space for dialogue and inquiry not so much encouraged elsewhere on campus. I begin reading and about a third of the way through I immediately begin thinking of a student who quit and left the school at the end of last semester due to many questions that could not and would not be answered in her previous environment, only to quit going to any church altogether as she wrestles with her faith. I highlight the passage, get one more page into the book, and who should walk into the café but the long absent student back to visit friends! I hop up, exclaim the providential nature of our meeting, have her read the section, and immediately receive affirmation of her relation to the text. I get her mailing address and immediately after finishing the book order a copy for her, marking the first time I’ve done such a thing, and on it’s launch date no less! Take this as you will, and let it stand as a further stamp of my humble approval.