Words of Hope: Fair and Truthful Conversations about Faith

If we go shopping, it is almost always going to be for a book. One of the new ones we picked up was from a cute shop in London. The title of the book caught my husband Shann’s attention. He is very interested in how literary writers navigate the topic of faith. The book had received a nomination for the Man Booker Prize, one of the top prizes in literature in that part of the world. The title of the book was A Testimony of Mary, about the life of the mother of Jesus. Shann asked the worker if he had read this book and he exclaimed he loved it. Shann further questioned how the book handled the topic of faith, specifically does it dismiss faith, or does it honor faith? The man replied that it honored faith.  

During transit, I decided I would read it. I read the first twenty pages and then told Shann, “This book is a major atheistic push to discredit the testimony of Mary and the Christian faith.” Shann was shocked. He questioned me and asked how I could make that determination without reading it in its entirety. Sadly, I was correct. This book, afforded major honors, was a direct sabotage of the Christian faith and point of view. It was not only poorly written but an offensive missive to those who deeply love Mary and the Christian faith.   

I don’t know why I am shocked by agenda writers with such a heavy-handed apologetic but I always am. I keep thinking that, especially in top literature, there will be a fair and truthful discussion and I keep longing for this. I believe my friend who is an atheist wants this too–open and fullhearted discussion on both sides of the faith. Those who don’t believe speaking with reverence for what they don’t understand. Those who believe speaking with respect and reverence for those who don’t choose faith and who often have stories of abuse and suffering connected with people who claim faith.   

I pray for this. Dad longed for spaces where the dialogue of faith and non-faith could exist with great love, curiosity, wonder, and compassion. I pray we can create spaces in our work and in our homes where boldness for the conversation of faith is not an excuse for tyranny or a decision for silence.   

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. – 1 Corinthians 9:22-23