In reviewing this book, I’ll resist the temptation to tell you the story of how Nathan made me buy it, and the story of his deep discontent with the book’s title and the sunflower on the cover, and even the completely irrelevant story of how he ran a red light, got a ticket, and had to take a breathalyzer test while driving me around Perth. I’ll cut straight to the heart of the matter: it’s an engaging, well-written, thought-provoking book, and you should read it.
Not unlike Chris Blake’s Searching for a God to Love, this book is in some ways a work of apologetics — not in the sense that it tries to build a logical argument for Christian faith, but rather in that it tries to answer the question “Why does Christian faith matter?” The book is largely directed at people who are familiar with Christianity, who are perhaps even nominal Christians, but who don’t see the relevance or importance of faith to their everyday lives. Rather than trying to create a case for why we should believe Christianity is right, Brown tries to create a case for “why it matters” (which, I believe, may have been the working title of the book).
The fact is, for every person who doesn’t believe in the tenets of the Christian faith, there are probably half a dozen more who believe them but couldn’t care less, who don’t see any relevance to their everyday lives. This is the audience to which Nathan Brown’s collection of short, insightful essays is addressed. Each section of the book (organized around the “seven reasons”) contains a number of short pieces (it’s no co-incidence that Brown has spent most of his career writing editorial-length articles) that incorporate personal reflection, social commentary and critique, and the gleanings of an almost frighteningly well-read mind. If you know an intelligent, thoughtful person who is unconvinced on the question of whether religion has any relevance to his or her life, you might just want to give them a copy of this little book, which deserves to be more widely read and better known.