Nancy and I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and when we set out to read No Idea by Greg Garrett, I suffered considerable misgivings. Half-way through the first chapter, however, I had already decided that Garrett was the real thing, and entertaining to boot.
Speaking as a conservative Christian, I choked a bit at Garrett's progressive ideology, though the latent liberal within me gave several grudging nods at various points. Garrett speaks to the human condition on a foundational level, recognizing both man's innate evil and good. Yes, I said good. From that perspective, he frequently quotes the wisdom of other religious traditions, a habit that took some getting used to. Though my Evangelical brethren will choke at that, I've come to believe that human good, while certainly not guaranteeing eternal outcomes, is none-the-less beneficial.
I regret not having first read his prequel to this book, Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief, as it frankly presents his journey through grief, despair and depression to the joyful redemption he found in Christ Jesus. Unlike many liberals I've encountered, Dr. Garrett(yes, he's a card-carrying academic) seems to spurn intellectual elitism, coming across as a humble man of God who only wants to love the world into submission to his Savior. Is that not, after all, the ambition that should unite all Christ-followers?