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Paradoxology Sml


by Krish Kandiah
308 pages

I love the subtitle: “Why Christianity was never meant to be simple”, and the quote by Michael Green on the front: “Paradox is often the pathway to truth, and Krish Kandiah is an accomplished guide along the road.”

Krish Kandiah is Executive Director for Churches in Mission at the Evangelical Alliance, Chair of the Theological Advisory Panel for Tearfund, and lecturer at Regent Park College, Oxford University.

This book is examining questions such as: What if Christianity has survived so long not in spite of but precisely because of its apparent contradictions? What if the tension between opposing doctrines is exactly where faith comes alive? What if it is in the difficult parts of the Bible that God is most clearly revealed?

Trinity and Monotheism immediately spring to mind; apophatic/catophatic; immanence/transcendence; God acting/our freedom; God’s word/God’s silence; fully human/fully divine;… This book looks at many of these concepts, and others.

I get so put off by forms of Christianity that reduce the Bible and theology to four spiritual laws or worse…

Each chapter begins with a story. The story leads to a problem. A biblical text is brought into dialogue with the problem. The chapter concludes with some reflection.

Maybe you won’t buy or read this book – but please, let’s be honest about the problems, the paradoxes. Living with the problems and paradoxes honestly helps you and me grow. And when we live with the problems and paradoxes honestly, other people won’t discard Christianity as naive, childish (as opposed to for the child-like), and simplistic.

Science is quite comfortable with paradox (light is particles; light is waves). May we, as people of faith, be more so – not less so.

Here’s a different edition of the same book.

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4 thoughts on “Paradoxology”

  1. “…other people won’t discard Christianity as naive, ..” You mean, not saying “don’t be awkward, get on with your coloring?” Loved that line in the video (though not sure if it was “awkward”.. the accent can be challenging to me.)

    Did you have a chapter you felt was especially insightful? One that you felt was notably lacking?

    1. Good question about the chapters, Stephen. (Other than maybe the Problem of Evil) I find one person’s issue can be quite different to another person’s – so what one person finds challenging may be helped by one chapter, another person may find that chapter obvious. I have long grappled with philosophical problems, it is the overarching concept that the problems are positive that I found enriching. Blessings.

  2. Stephen McGuire

    Aye — it is similar to the idea that we learn more from our failures than our successes. A life without paradox is shallow as it is unexamined (as well as not possible, IMHO.) We grow by taking stock of what causes us pause.
    Hope tomorrow is going well. Today is gray on this side of the date line, but it is Michigan and December.

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