An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they've overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope. In this enlightening book author Philip Yancey serves as an insightful tour guide for those willing to look beyond the obvious, pointing out glimpses of the eternal where few might think to look. Whether finding God among the newspaper headlines, within the church, or on the job, Yancey delves deeply into the commonplace and surfaces with rich spiritual insight. Finding God in Unexpected Places takes readers from Ground Zero to the Horn of Africa, and each stop along the way reveals footprints of God, touches of his truth and grace that prompt readers to search deeper within their own lives for glimpses of transcendence.
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March 17, 2005
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Excerpt from Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey
According to Greek mythology, people once knew in advance their exact day of death. Everyone on earth lived with a deep sense of melancholy, for mortality hung like a sword suspended above them. All that changed when Prometheus introduced the gift of fire. Now humans could reach beyond themselves to control their destinies; they could strive to be like the gods. Caught up in excitement over these new possibilities, people soon lost the knowledge of their death day.
Have we moderns lost even more? Have we lost, in fact, the sense that we will die at all?
Although some authors argue as much (such as social theorist Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death), I have found that behind the noise of daily life, rumors of another world can still be heard. The whispers of death persist, and I have heard them, I believe, in three unlikely places: a health club, a political action group, and a hospital therapy group. I have even detected the overtones--but only overtones--of theology in these unexpected places.
I joined the Chicago Health Club after a foot injury forced me to find alternatives to running. It took a while to adjust to the artificiality of the place. Patrons lined up to use high-tech rowing machines, complete with video screens and animation pace boats, though Lake Michigan, a real lake requiring real oars, lay empty just four blocks away. In another room, people working out at Stairmaster machines duplicated the act of climbing stairs--this in a dense patch of high-rise buildings. And I marveled at the technology that adds computer-programmed excitement to the everyday feat of bicycling.