of Another World
by Rev Ng Seng Chuan
is not only a good book. It's
a great book! I have read
practically every book Philip Yancey has written.
This is easily his best. For
some strange reason, I had difficulty getting into it.
My last Yancey book was Soul Survivor (which I think I had reviewed
previously). Coming from that
work, somehow the style of Yancey's new book seemed different.
Slightly less straightforward journalistic prose, more poetic,
loftier. But once I got
acclimatized to this new inflexion, I felt my spirit soar.
are many intriguing things about Yancey's latest offering - the chapter
titles, for instance. He has a
chapter entitled, "Designer Sex".
What in the world is that? Designer
drugs I know. But
"designer sex"? It
almost makes you want to start right there!
there are the "head-quotes" and "end-quotes" for each
chapter. It has become pretty
much Yancey's signature style to have suitable quotations grace each
chapter, sometimes at the beginning, or one at the end of each chapter,
and sometimes at both places. In
this work, he does both - and they are oh, so apt, that this review could
concentrate on just the quotations alone.
The quotations alone are worth their weight in gold in terms of
prompting the mind to zero in on the crucial issues being discussed in
Straits Times sometimes prints quotations of famous people under the
caption, "Did they really say that?"
Well, you feel like asking the same question of the many quotations
that Yancey spews. Consider
this one by the famed G.K. Chesterton (p.43): "Every man who knocks
on the door of a brothel is looking for God."
Wow! Did he really say
first, this looks like one of those what you might call lame apologetics
texts - trying to prove the reality of God to skeptics.
The polemical style of such writings can be problematic when the
writers of such stuff demonstrate neither understanding of nor affinity
with the secular world they are attempting to reach.
Not so Yancey. His aim
is much more modest and humane and humble.
He declares in his preface (p.9) his avowed intent to communicate
with those in the "borderlands of belief" who might have
experienced enough of the "epiphany of beauty" to rethink their
the end of the book (p.245), Yancey confesses himself to be nothing more
than one caught "in the borderlands", torn with having to choose
between skepticism and the "unconvincing pieties" of
of Another World is a critique
of humanity gone askew. It is
not a book you could give to any non-Christian.
But to a reasonably intelligent skeptic with some literary taste,
this book might just do the job. But
there is a catch, though. Before
we use this book as an evangelistic tool, we do well to read the book for
ourselves first. The reader
may well be shocked to discover he does not really share the values of the
"other world" that he is commending to his non-Christian friend!
incisive power of Yancey's literary style lies precisely in his
confronting Christendom with the foolishness of the Gospel it has so long
and foolishly rejected.
Yam Keng Mun 26/9
A. Kupuhe from Nagaland, an MCS student, was the speaker at chapel today.
spoke on the theme of "surrender".
She began by drawing attention to negative nuances of the word in
secular culture. Nobody wants
to admit to defeat. Everyone
wants to win, to succeed, or to conquer.
But for Hukali, surrender lies at the heart of what it means to
worship (Romans 6:13 and 12:1).
speaker went on to illustrate the importance of surrender in Jesus' own
life. Busy as He was in
ministry, He sought the Father's mind and presence.
Applying this to her audience, Hukali cited a friend's observation
that theological education could lead to intellectual pride in place of a
spirit of devotion. What was
required in our spiritual journey was a posture of humility, a posture
that when Peter the proud fisherman adopted, he found a catch beyond his
then assured her listeners that submission would lead to a discovery of
God, not as tyrant, but as friend. Still,
it would require strength of character that accepted suffering, in the act
of surrender, as part of God's gracious appointment.
In the end, this was why Mary was chosen to carry the Christ-child.
She might not have been the most beautiful or intelligent woman.
What marked her as special was her surrender to the will of God.
ended with a plea to put Jesus in the "driver's seat" of our
life, and to take our hands off the steering wheel.
Our calling was to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength
(As summarized by Ng
speaker on 21 September was Ms Debbie Lee.
Visit our website for course description. For registration, call us on 62276815 or email email@example.com
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30 : Dr Philip Satterthwaite will continue with the Studies in the
Song of Songs “The Dark Side of Human Love” (Chp 5-6).
7 : “Human Love & the Love of God” (Chp 7-8)
14, 21, 28 : Dr Eileen Poh,
Lecturer in New Testament, Discipleship Training Centre, will be
speaking on “Christians in a Non-Christian World” (Studies in 1