Mind your faith is a book that has been written to help guide the young generation of college goers and potential university first-year students about keeping your mind focused despite the many pitfalls that may appear on the way. The first chapter not only identifies that it is possible to lose one's faith and engage in sinful behaviors and acts such as sexual immorality, and drug and alcohol abuse, it could also cause one to relent on his journey of faith. The author, David A. Horner identifies that he questioned a lot of issues to do with his faith and religion which made him have a rethink of the whole issue of Christianity. However, he was lucky to still stand in the end, unlike many young university freshmen who change their lives as soon as they enter college. Chapter two focuses on teaching us to set our minds on loving God moving away from ideas and thoughts that have a way of affecting the walk of faith. He goes on in chapter three and four to idealize truth and the truth about beliefs and knowledge. He takes us on a philosophical journey simplistically challenging the Aristotelian logic explaining the concepts of truth and how it relates to belief and knowledge. Chapter five asks us to think contextually like Christ and looks at Paul's ministry when he taught in Jerusalem (people with an understanding of Jesus but need reinforcement) and Athens (people ignorant of the bible and Jesus and need much teaching). Chapter six and seven are helpful in aiding students to ask good questions and good reasons using Jesus as the template for logical thinking. Through the understanding of logic, students can link dots and have their worldviews that they can use to assess the worldview of other people. In part two, Horner deals with necessity and faith. In chapter eight and nine, Horner looks at faith and reason as important elements of flourishing in the Christian life. He identifies commitment, trust, and faith as the key to growth in faith. Chapter ten and eleven present a clear way of identifying and dealing with challenges to faith. He identifies doubts and objections as a major hindrance to the growth of faith. Objections come from people whereas doubt is born within. Handling these issues are important in solidifying our faith and ensuring the growth of both mind and spirit. The Christian worldview about faith can only be tested by living it by faith. Part three presents Horner's considerations about the character of individuals and how they stem from the faith and mind interacting together. Taking stands and focusing on Jesus and how he would carry himself in the university are important in having a college life that has the good life in it. The last chapter looks at the French community Le Chambon and how the community presents itself as a model that Horner looks up to and asks or encourages the college students to live a similar kind of life that is robust in faith and does not have any intellectual stagnation but is vigorously intellectual.
Reflecting upon the reading reminds me of when I was a freshman and how much easy it was to lose focus of what was required of me at the time. Simply put, or as Horner puts it, one is not adequately prepared to tackle this sort of life. It is similar to being thrown at the deep end of a pool and being asked to find the way out. Indeed, although the book speaks much about maintaining the Christian faith, it could well help every student irrespective of religious belief or inclination in understanding their purpose at the school and ensuring that they keep true to what sent them to college. There are many facets in the reading that I agree with although there are others that are somewhat hard to swallow.
My first take with the reading is that I agree with the author's point of view that there is a need for better preparedness for young high school graduates of the menace that forms the university. The university is a cesspool of ideas, beliefs, and practices that are done concurrently and without any particular order and a freshman is a sponge ready to take in these ideas to the best that he/she can. The only difference is where in the cesspool is he/she retaining these ideas and are they going to help him/her in the long run. Helping these freshmen, especially those going to secular universities is important to prepare them psychologically, mentally, and emotionally. I also like how instead of calling the university the devil's playground, he admits that there is much that can be gotten from the university (from learning, experiences, and relationships) that is helpful for the growth of individuals into fine characters. In fact, going through secular universities with its many pitfalls and coming out stronger in faith is also a learning process. To them who fall into these temptations and come back to Christ use the time on campus as a reminder of life without Christ which in the end strengthens their faith.
Horner's continuous mention and call for community and brotherhood all through the book is a concept that I have loved most about the book. By being in a community that is united by belief, it is easier to dispel rumors, answer questions and work out doubts that may affect each of you or the community as a whole. Unity is strength and will see growth both for the individual and Christianity in general. If a student does not join such groupings, he/she will find it rough defending his faith and might see his faith grow stale or end altogether.
Horner also allows room for doubt and questioning highlighting the honest nature of this book. Important questions that have follow-up questions with difficult answers have been presented unapologetically in the book. Horner does his best to answer as much as he can with clarity and to the best of his ability. The allowance of these issues and his limited answering prove that the book is not meant for proving facts or quelling doubts, rather, it is meant to be used as a tool that will be helpful in guiding a student facing some of these challenges in the campus as well as in general spheres of life.
My argument and disappointment is that although it is a good read that is important for both believers and non-believers, it does not highlight more on postmodernism and how it questions the Christian faith. The book has done extensive research on traditional philosophical concepts including those of Aristotle and Plato. Aristotelian logic although important takes a huge chunk of Horner's arguments. It would be wise to do more on postmodernism as we are living in this era. In fact, many students and thinkers of this modern times are drifting away from Aristotelian logic and embracing the philosophical postmodernism. Furthermore, at the core of philosophical postmodernism is the logical contradiction. His overemphasis on Aristotle for this postmodern world can be equated to equipping a soldier with crude weapons from the World Wars or the Civil War eras. It is clear that Horner is on the right track as he presents the postmodern thinking and logic as being self-refuting and quite poor (bankrupt). With that in mind, is it worth to refute it against Aristotelian logic yet the person holding it rejects the logic being presented? Identifying the best logic is key to winning this battle.
In conclusion, I believe Horner is onto something here, and it is quite commendable that he chose to help the young people have an understanding and a smooth transition from high school to college life. The book presents ideas in a continuous flow that is not boring or monotonous to the eye. The use of life lessons in each chapter with stories about different spheres of life makes it an interesting read and puts the concepts together by making them easier to understand and follow all through the book. His arguments are also on point with the current situation, and I can relate with them to a very large extent. However, as stated earlier, he could have expounded further on philosophical postmodernism which is a subject that is relevant to more students as the days go by. All in all, I would recommend the book for all people but especially the Christians as they venture into university.
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