Christian author Philip Yancey has given me a lot of encouragement over the years. In one of his other books, Soul Survivor, he writes about 13 people, many of them writers, who salvaged his Christian faith when it might have hit the rocks. If I were ever to make my own Soul Survivor list, Philip Yancey would be on it. His compassionate, grace-filled, not-afraid-to-doubt view of evangelical Christianity has provided me with one of the anchors of my spiritual outlook.
Finding God in Unexpected Places is a collection of short pieces, grouped together by common themes, many of them inspired by places Philip Yancey has travelled or people he has met. Some are funny, some touching, all thought-provoking. The book was originally published in the 90s, but Yancey wrote several new chapters for this re-release, chapters which updated the book for the post-9/11 world. Many of the original chapters, written after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, feel dated now — it’s hard to remember now the optimism with which we viewed the world after the Berlin Wall had fallen and apartheid was vanquished in South Africa. But the inclusion of both the earlier and later chapters gives the book a broad perspective, and a valuable reminder that no matter what’s happening in the world around us, whether world affairs are hopeful or discouraging, God is still present.