An anecdotal, highly allusive series of Christian-oriented observations on life.
“Christianity insists that grace comes through the commonplace,” writes Orr (The Instruction of Youth in the Christian Life, 2018, etc.) in his latest book, stressing that “we become human in the network of everyday.” In a series of interconnected meditations on that network, he explores how Christianity can provide invaluable direction for solving problems, whether they’re man-made or not: “People do get lost in life,” he writes, “lost sometimes because they are simply in harm’s way, in the march of human evil, or the catastrophes of nature.” Specifically, Orr stresses how the Christian faith can provide an all-embracing support system for its believers. He criticizes the modern view of God as “a great celestial nag,” insisting instead that “Christianity is not a religion of control, but a religion of redemption” and that God’s love isn’t manipulative (“He treasures our freedom”). However, some of the observations here will strike readers as a bit confusing, as when the book asserts that the assassination of Mohandas K. Gandhi—a Hindu who was murdered by a Hindu—was a rejection of the Christian God’s grace. But the principal charm of this book lies in the wonderfully broad range of its references; in a series of smoothly presented stories and anecdotes, the author alludes to classic films as well as the writings of Leo Rosten, Arnold Bennett, Mark Twain, Stewart Alsop, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paul Tillich, Loren Eiseley, and the lyrics of the Beatles. Orr effectively marshals his quoted sources to underscore his central, uplifting point that “There is something more to your life. Something, which lies deep inside, which hungers and thirsts for something permanent.” In quick-paced prose, he sympathetically attempts to sketch out what that “something more” could be for his Christian readers.
A brisk set of optimistic, religious life-lessons.