Meeting the Living Godby William J. O'Malley
Widely used by high school juniors and seniors in Catholic religion classes, the best-selling Meeting the Living God is that rarest of texts: a book that engages on every page and meets students inside their own culture and language. This is not a pious call to faith having nothing to do with real life; the author calls such a blind leap sheer idiocy. Instead,… See more details below
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Widely used by high school juniors and seniors in Catholic religion classes, the best-selling Meeting the Living God is that rarest of texts: a book that engages on every page and meets students inside their own culture and language. This is not a pious call to faith having nothing to do with real life; the author calls such a blind leap sheer idiocy. Instead, O'Malley challenges students on the most basic levels: How can we know anything in this age of double-speak and plastic culture? Does God even exist? How can we be sure? What can be discovered with certainty about the nature and personality of God? And how do we meet the living God?
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While O'Malley has an eloquent way of preaching, and he does have a good message, the examples and facts he uses to support anything he says are utterly idiotic. The analogies he uses are not at all relevant and insult many intelligences, including that of mine and many of my comrades. While I believe that he has a worthwhile message, his approach to the question of God is mediocre at best. O'Malley does not realize that one cannot use facts to support a philosophy about the question of God, when there AREN'T any facts about it. He earns one star if only for his 'smart-sounding' diction and his agreeable message---however, this will not stop me from tossing this into a bonfire.
Back in the mid-70's, I was a high-school student of Father O'Malley. He used his 'Meeting the Living God' in a theology course he taught for seniors, so it is hard, if not impossible, for me to separate the book and the person. I'd like to say this, though: One Friday or Saturday night way back then, relaxing on a cool night in a parked car with two or three buddies, we were not talking about the upcoming big game or trying to get into a bar without IDs. Of all things, we were talking about Father O'Malley and his book. One basic idea in both the class and the book was for the student/reader to realize what a Christian is and to act on that by kind of lighting a fire under one's ....arse. At one point in that parked car of twenty years or so ago, a buddy, talking about Father, blurted out (a little too emotionally), 'He's a living god.' Father O'Malley would balk at that, but my friend was probably talking more about himself and whatever changes he was going through. Both the course and the book really did get many of us past the point of thinking about certain things and into the realm of acting. In this way, and through my 'Meeting the Living God' experience of the book and the course, I felt very similar to my feelings about Soren Kierkegaard's 'Concluding Unscientific Postscript.' In both books, the authors are asking and trying to find out the answer to this question: 'What do I have to do to become a Christian'?