A personal reflection recounts one man’s lifetime odyssey from the celebration of reason to a submission to faith.
Even as a child, debut author Murray was relentlessly curious and analytically demanding, coldly rational about his approach to understanding the world. In his 20s, he restlessly searched for a deeper purpose to life, and turned to a slew of self-help books for guidance, but to no avail. His subsequent strategy remained bookish but became more refined, and he started to study existentialist philosophy, but again was ultimately unmoved by its solipsistic individuality. Then, he turned to ancient philosophy, especially Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and from there turned to religion, and sampled Buddhism, Mormonism, and even Scientology. He finally sought mooring in monumental literature, and decided to devour the 100 greatest books ever written. Conspicuously absent from that list was the Bible, something Murray noticed when a neighbor in an Atlanta office park invited him to a Bible discussion group. He demurred at the time, but was drawn to the book thereafter, and the more he read, the more the author was mesmerized by its saving message. Eventually, against the counsel of others, Murray left the real estate business and devoted himself to a vocational ministry. This is a brief personal memoir—30 speedy chapters—that narrowly focuses on the author’s spiritual journey, one that began cerebrally but ended with a faithful chastening of rational hubris. The remembrance is philosophically robust—Murray recruits the help of intellectual heavyweights like G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis to make sense of his transformation. But this is not a theological study; it is not only written in accessible prose, but also with verve and self-deprecating wit. At one juncture, Murray wryly congratulates the reader for benefitting from his reflections: “As a consequence, today is your lucky day. You have the dubious privilege of bearing witness to what I’ve learned about the soul so far.” One could gripe that the message is a well-worn one, which is surely true, but it’s also an exemplary Christian one: the stubborn, almost begrudging surrendering to a higher authority, and the joy that ensues from that capitulation. What this volume lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in its refreshing unpretentiousness and modest wisdom.
A breezily funny, but sharp meditation on the meandering path to a spiritual awakening.