Tables in the Wilderness is the tale of a young man who grew up in a traditional evangelical form of Christianity. He, as a teenager, has his whole life figured out. Yet, as he enters college, God stops speaking to him and he feels searching, soul-sick and broken as he searches desperately for God’s voice and eventually hears from God again. In the process of his searching, the trades his traditional Baptist heritage in for a traditional Anglican faith.
After reading this book, I am of two minds about it’s content. First, I must say that Yancey’s prose is beautiful, poetic and in many places kind of difficult to get into. The story circles back and forth between different times and people in his life, and sometimes I would lose track of where he was in his journey as he describes what is going on. That could also be because it took me a while to read this book. Prose this lovely is meant to be savored.
I also don’t think that Yancey’s dilemma is uncommon, especially during the college years. I could tell my own story of my searching, soul-sick days. (And believe it or not, some of the greatest peace I found in those years was through the Anglican services that I attended on my college campus!!) I think that sometimes when people go from a form of the faith where there is less emphasis on tradition and ritual to one that places more emphasis on tradition, that it’s a symbol of their own need for ritual, for formal prayers and traditions. When God is silent, sometimes we need a way to feel closer to him. It’s not because God is any different. It’s because we’re changed by training ourselves to live in tune with the common prayers and the church seasons.
Because Yancey is such a young writer and his experience is mostly a “college” years experience, I think I would like to see in 15 years where his faith stands and how God has used this experience in his life. Right now, I think Yancey has made meaning of his experience, but I think he is still awfully close to it for him to draw too many conclusions.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the Booklook Bloggers program. My opinions are my own.