O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling

Overview

In O Me of Little Faith, author Jason Boyett brings you a transparent and personal account of his own of struggles with doubts and unbelief in living out his faith. With humor and frankness, Boyett uses personal anecdotes and a fresh look at Scripture to explore the realities of pursuing Christ through a field of doubt.

After three decades of knowing God, understanding Christianity, and living a Christian life, Boyett has come to the place ...

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O Me of Little Faith

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Overview

In O Me of Little Faith, author Jason Boyett brings you a transparent and personal account of his own of struggles with doubts and unbelief in living out his faith. With humor and frankness, Boyett uses personal anecdotes and a fresh look at Scripture to explore the realities of pursuing Christ through a field of doubt.

After three decades of knowing God, understanding Christianity, and living a Christian life, Boyett has come to the place where he can voice the tough questions and travel the road of uncertainty with blinders off, candor on.

The message along the way is one of encouragement: Relax. Rely on the grace of a merciful God, a kind father who realizes that his finite creatures must have doubts, should have questions, and will have trouble making sense of an infinite Creator. Ultimately, Boyett concludes that doubt and faith are not polar opposites, but actually work together, existing side-by-side.

Uplifting, entertaining, hopeful, O Me of Little Faith will strike a chord with you and any Christian who's dealing with the uncertainties of living life in pursuit of a God who occasionally seems to disappear.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Doubt can play an important role in a healthy spiritual life. This statement may seem counter-intuitive, but Boyett, popular speaker and author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, illustrates its truth through his own faith struggles. Grounded in Scripture and Christian history, the author provides examples of great religious thinkers who experienced their own trials of doubt about God, faith, and the church. But it is when he weaves in humorous, even poignant, autobiographical anecdotes that his writing springs to life. One fascinating highlight is the discussion regarding the "hidden God," a phrase used by many great religious figures to describe just how different God is from human categories and understanding. Ultimately, the author's point is clear: if there were no doubt, there would not be faith. The author is comfortable with a snarky, self-deprecating style that will appeal to the under-40 crowd, although older readers may not appreciate it. For anyone wrestling with doubt about religious faith, however, this memoir provides a chance to examine the experience with levity. (May)
Zondervan
Doubt can play an important role in a healthy spiritual life. This statement may seem counter-intuitive, but Boyett, popular speaker and author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, illustrates its truth through his own faith struggles. Grounded in Scripture and Christian history, the author provides examples of great religious thinkers who experienced their own trials of doubt about God, faith, and the church. But it is when he weaves in humorous, even poignant, autobiographical anecdotes that his writing springs to life. One fascinating highlight is the discussion regarding the 'hidden God,' a phrase used by many great religious figures to describe just how different God is from human categories and understanding. Ultimately, the author's point is clear: if there were no doubt, there would not be faith. The author is comfortable with a snarky, self-deprecating style that will appeal to the under-40 crowd, although older readers may not appreciate it. For anyone wrestling with doubt about religious faith, however, this memoir provides a chance to examine the experience with levity. (May) Jason Boyett, Zondervan -- Doubt can play an important role in a healthy spiritual life. This statement may seem counter-intuitive, but Boyett, popular speaker and author of Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, illustrates its truth through his own faith struggles. Grounded in Scripture and Christian history, the author provides examples of great religious thinkers who experienced their own trials of doubt about God, faith, and the church. But it is when he weaves in humorous, even poignant, autobiographical anecdotes that his writing springs to life. One fascinating highlight is the discussion regarding the 'hidden God,' a phrase used by many great religious figures to describe just how different God is from human categories and understanding. Ultimately, the author's point is clear: if there were no doubt, there would not be faith. The author is comfortable with a snarky, self-deprecating style that will appeal to the under-40 crowd, although older readers may not appreciate it. For anyone wrestling with doubt about religious faith, however, this memoir provides a chance to examine the experience with levity. (May) Jason Boyett, Zondervan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310289494
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 4/20/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 534,065
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Boyett is a blogger, writer, and speaker who lives in Amarillo, Texas. He is the author of several books, most notably the Pocket Guide series (including Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, and Pocket Guide to the Bible). Jason has been featured on the History Channel and the National Geographic Channel and writes regularly about religion and popular culture. Follow Jason online at jasonboyett.com and twitter.com/jasonboyett

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Read an Excerpt

O Me of Little Faith

True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling
By Jason Boyett

Zondervan

Copyright © 2010 Jason Boyett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-28949-4


Chapter One

The Weakling in the Weight Room

When I was in seventh grade, there was one room on campus that I approached with dread: the weight room. I played on the basketball team-actually, played might be a bit of a stretch. I was on the basketball team. But as a five-foot, seventy-pound stick of a twelve-year-old, my primary position was holding down the end of the bench. On the "B" team.

Anyway, during the off-season, our coach decided we needed to start lifting weights. The first part of our weight training would be something he called "maxing out," which sounded awesome until I found out what it really meant. "Maxing out" means finding the heaviest amount of weight a person can lift in one single, clean, complete movement. It is, to a considerable degree, not that awesome.

I am a skinny, skinny person. Other than a few months of infant obesity, I have been skinny all of my life. My mom's side of the family is populated by healthy-and very thin-people, so I come by my slenderness naturally. I can't wear a regular men's wristwatch because the size of most watch faces make me look like I've strapped a wall clock to my arm. I was scrawny in junior high, and I am scrawny now.

Coach's plan was for us to max out on the bench press, and he let the big guys go first. They were intimidating enough already. Their deep voices and hairy legs indicated they were already members of the Puberty Club. (Alas, I had not yet received my invitation, and I was beginning to wonder whether I was even on the mailing list.) One by one, while the rest of us watched, the big guys methodically added weight to the bar-clank ... clank. Some of them were getting up into the triple digits, pressing 110, 120, even 130 pounds.

I thought about hiding under a wrestling mat.

I went last. Coach turned to me and asked, "Boyett, what do you weigh?"

"Sev-seventy pounds," I squeaked. (My voice hadn't changed yet.)

"We'll start with forty-five and work up to seventy," Coach said. "You ought to be able to bench at least seventy."

Let me pause here to reveal two important facts. The first is that Coach was under the mistaken assumption that a person should be able to bench at least his own body weight, because a bench press is like an inverted upside-down push-up. I dispute this idea even to this day. It just seems wrong.

You should also know that Coach didn't just choose the beginning forty-five-pound weight at random. Forty-five pounds was the weight of the empty bar.

That's right: I would start the process of maxing out with just the weight bar. No clanking weights. Just the bar. And, yes, it looked as wildly heroic as it sounds.

I lay down on the bench. My shirtsleeves slid back to reveal bony arms and nearly hairless armpits. A couple of spotters effortlessly lifted the bar from the rack. I lowered it down, said a quick prayer-please please please let me push this back up-and contracted every pectoral muscle fiber I had. And slowly, steadily, keeping my eyes closed so they didn't pop out of my head with the strain, I pressed that forty-five-pound bar until my quivering arms extended fully. I'd made it. Flush with relief, I breathed again.

"Nice job, Boyett," Coach said. "Add ten."

Clank. Clank.

The spotters loaded a five-pound weight onto each end of the bar. Total: fifty-five pounds. They waited until I steadied my small-boned jelly arms, and let go as I lowered the bar to my chest.

I pushed. I pushed some more. I squeezed my eyes even tighter. Dear God, I may have prayed, please let there be some sort of Spirit-of-the-Lord Samson strength stored in my blond mullet. I kept pushing. I came dangerously close, I think, to rupturing a disc. My back lifted off the bench, which is not recommended. But the bar wouldn't move.

"Help him," Coach finally said, and the spotters-I'm certain of this-rolled their eyes at each other as they used their pinkie fingers to lift the bar from my chest. I couldn't move.

"Boyett: forty-five pounds," Coach called out as he wrote it on his clipboard. His voice echoed against the brick walls and wood floors of the weight room, punctuated by my still-pounding heartbeat.

I don't blame him for what he said next, because who could resist?

"On the bench press, Boyett maxes out with ..." (dramatic pause) "... the bar. Just the bar."

I learned a lot during that season of seventh-grade basketball. I learned the Lord's Prayer, because Coach-a U.S.-born Hispanic Catholic-would have us kneel and say it prior to every game, in the King James Version.

I also learned (but never practiced) a variety of creative ways to curse, because Coach would typically follow the pre-game Lord's Prayer with a halftime litany of less-appropriate uses of God's name and certain other syllables. Our team wasn't very good, and his way of dealing with our constant failure was to string together as many expletives as he could fit between breaths. I'm convinced the guy was a savant of vulgarity.

Back then, I learned something about myself that remains true to this day: I am weak. In seventh grade, that weakness was primarily physical. I became aware of it in the weight room, on the basketball court, and in the hallways when various members of the athletic staff kept suggesting that I would make a great equipment manager for the football team.

Now, a couple of decades later, I wonder if that weakness transferred from the outside to the inside. Some days, when it comes to faith, I can't bench press much more than the bar. I'm spiritually scrawny. I don't measure up to the power-lifters in the weight room.

When you live and work within the American Christian subculture-especially the less liturgical, more conservative, evangelical, megachurch sub-subculture-you hear a lot of people talking casually about the intimacy of their relationship with God. The way they tell it, they get frequent, distinct impressions from the Holy Spirit. They get personal promptings from Jesus. They get very specific answers to prayer and detailed directions about even the most trivial aspects of their lives.

I've heard someone tell a friend, "I woke up in the middle of the night and thought of you, and it was definitely the Holy Spirit wanting me to pray for you right then and there." I've overheard a middle-aged woman say, "It was totally a God thing that my flight got cancelled, because I got to share my faith with the lady next to me. Talk about a divine appointment!"

I've heard musicians credit God with having written their song lyrics. I've heard businessmen give God credit for finally coming through with the promotions for which they'd been praying. I know a few people who don't hesitate to reveal that God told them to quit their jobs and go into full-time ministry.

One Sunday I overheard someone give this breathless recap of a worship service: "The Lord totally showed up in church this morning. When we got to that key change in 'Breathe,' you just knew God was moving."

You've heard this kind of talk too, maybe coming out of your own mouth. Please understand me: I'm not telling you-or them-to stop. I'm pretty sure most of those kinds of statements express a sincere and real faith in a personal God who is intimately involved in our lives. That people talk this way is not what bothers me.

The problem is that I can't describe my own faith that way. It doesn't feel right. It makes me uncomfortable. When I'm around people who do talk that way, it's seventh grade all over again.

Maybe I'm just a cynical grump. Maybe these Christians aren't spiritualizing chance, or common sense, or feelings, or inner desires by wrapping them in church talk. Maybe they're truly hearing from God. Maybe that's the experience of most Christians today, and I'm just missing out.

But the God-whispering-in-my-ear thing doesn't seem to happen for me. If I hear my conscience, I'm pretty sure that's because I'm familiar enough with the teachings of Jesus that I feel guilty when I've failed in some way. If I wake up in the night, I'm more likely to believe it's because my dog made a noise than to assume God wants me to pray for someone. (And why does God need me to pray for something so badly that he has to wake me up, anyway? Can't he just wait until morning? Or, you know, answer the prayer without me? Am I a soulless twit to even ask?)

If my flight gets canceled, perhaps it's just the result of a backlog of delayed flights thanks to a major storm somewhere. I'm seriously hesitant to assume a master evangelistic plan behind flight delays, but many well-meaning Christians really do place so much value on a single soul that they have no problem believing that God whipped up a thunderstorm over the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, piled stress on airline employees, and inconvenienced hundreds of travelers for the purpose of engineering a conversation of eternal significance. My honest assessment of most "divine appointment" language is that it is self-centered. Especially if your divinely appointed evangelism is at the expense of a bunch of other people who just want to get home in time to tuck in their kids. (Right: I'm a soulless twit.)

If I feel an optimistic swell of "the Spirit" during a specific song at church, maybe it's just that music has a powerful pull on my emotions-a well-timed minor 7th tends to have that effect. Or maybe it's the sound of hundreds of voices singing in unison that gives me chills. Is there any chance that I've been conditioned, in the subtle Pavlovian anticipation of what happens at church, to view this feeling as the presence of God-as God "showing up"? (Anyway, isn't God omnipresent? Can an omnipresent deity ever really "show up" anywhere?)

Am I too skeptical? Too worldly? Not spiritual enough? Yes. Probably. Almost certainly. At church, in my home group, and in random conversations with fellow Christians, I often feel like my scrawny twelve-year-old self, barely able to lift the bar when everyone else is maxing out in the triple digits. I'm a spiritual lightweight.

Do I lack the eyes to see and the ears to hear? Is God really trying to speak to me through my canceled flight or my recent insomnia-only I'm just missing it? Sometimes I wonder. I'm full of uncertainty, but I know this for sure: these doubts aren't fun. It's a drag to feel so spiritually weak when everyone else seems strong, to feel so full of doubt when everyone else oozes faith. At church and around Christians, I'm sitting at the end of the bench while the game goes on without me.

But I love the Bible. I love the Jesus revealed in the Bible. On most days, I'm convinced that he rose from the dead and that he is who he claimed to be. I try to follow him. I try to keep his commandments. I think the life he models is the best way to live. I think the kingdom he invites me into is as revolutionary as they come. But I'd be lying if I said Jesus talked to me all the time, or that he always felt as real to me as my wife and kids do. Because he doesn't.

"Doubt" is my middle name.

Not literally, but close enough: I'm Jason Thomas Boyett.

I'm named after my dad, but we share a name with history's most famous doubter, the disciple Thomas. He didn't fit in either. Thomas's story is found in John 20. After Jesus has died, been buried, and is resurrected, he appears to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb. Later, along the road to Emmaus, Jesus spends time with a couple of followers who don't recognize him at first. Then Jesus surprises his disciples when he suddenly appears in a room with locked doors. He shows them his crucifixion wounds. The disciples believe, and Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit upon them (John 20:19-23). To risk making the biggest understatement in Christian history, I suspect this was an amazing spiritual experience, holy and unexpected. The room must have been saturated with "the power and the glory," to quote the prayer I learned in seventh-grade basketball.

But Thomas missed the party somehow. According to John 20:24-25, he wasn't there. All his friends leave the locked room rejoicing and saying, "We have seen the Lord!" and eventually they meet up with Thomas. They tell him all about their risen Savior, his still-visible wounds, the locked-room trick, and how wonderful it was.

Thomas can't rejoice with them, though. He feels confused about the whole thing. And left out. He simply can't relate to what they're saying because he hasn't experienced it. Are his friends drunk? Are they delusional? Are James and John trying to "punk" him or something? Thomas needs proof. He needs to see Jesus for himself and stick his finger in the wounds. He just can't force himself to believe something unbelievable.

I feel for Thomas. I feel like Thomas.

I am Thomas.

One of the earliest and most important deities in Roman mythology is Janus, the two-faced god of doors, gates, beginnings, and endings. He's typically shown with the two faces looking in opposite directions, which is why the month of January takes its first-of-the-year position and name from him. You wouldn't want to meet Janus in person, though-which face would you talk to? Where do you look? A conversation with Janus would be awkward.

Like Janus, my doubt is an awkward, two-faced freak. One face surveys the many ways I do and do not experience God. It's as suspicious as Thomas. It needs evidence. It wants something rational to hold onto-and sometimes rational proof isn't even convincing enough. It asks questions, but they're the kinds of honest questions that maybe all Christians ask at some point in their lives.

But there's another face, too. It's rougher, wilder, and more primitive, with a touch of the crazy eyes. It stares down a dangerous, dark path. It's not concerned with biblical contradictions, the silly ways Christians talk, or the trivia of faith. With fear and trembling, it dares to ask a more basic question.

Does God even exist?



Excerpted from O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett Copyright © 2010 by Jason Boyett. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................8
Introduction: The Doubter's Road....................11
1. The Weakling in the Weight Room....................23
2. Turtles All the Way Down....................35
3. Are You Sure? Are You Sure You're Sure?....................60
4. The Weight of Absence....................81
5. Reverse Bricklaying....................101
6. Insanity at 900 Feet....................124
7. This Is Horrible. Here, Taste It!....................146
8. The Paralysis of Weddings and Births....................165
9. Faith with a Kung Fu Grip....................181
10. Unresolved....................202
About the Author....................223
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    O ME OF LITTLE FAITH - honest, courageous - a MUST READ!

    I found out about Jason Boyett's website when I first got on Twitter. Someone posted a blurb basically saying "here's a funny guy talking about Jesus" and I followed it and found something--or rather someone--very interesting. Here was a guy who wasn't afraid to say "I'm a Christian, but I have some questions." Here was a guy who didn't subscribe to the party line and who invited people--Christian and non-Christian--to say what they really thought. And he wrote with a dry humor that made me laugh, daily. I was impressed. For the first time in a very long time, here was a place where I could go and express things long held inside. And here was a place where people like me could come and realize -- "Hey, I am not alone." <P>


    So when I heard Jason had a new book coming out, O ME OF LITTLE FAITH, a memoirs of his journey through Christianity and his struggle with doubt, I begged him to let me review it. So here I am, but as I write this, I find suddenly that words fail me. How do you comment on another person's barefaced honesty? How do you explain to someone else how amazing it is to read what another Christian, being open and real, has to say about his innermost thoughts and fears and doubts? I'm not sure, but I'll give it a try.<P>


    First, I have to say that almost every sentence in Jason's book makes me stop and think. The word "thought-provoking" seems very lame in trying to convey the real impact this book had on me. His experiences in church, in revivals, in daily life, mirror the very real spiritual awakenings--or lack of--and questions that arise in a Christian's life. There is no pious preaching in these pages, and no "Christianspeak" meant to evoke an emotional response in the reader. There is just straight out "Here's what I think, what I've questioned, what I wonder about" coupled with some good old Jason Boyett humor, historical and Biblical references, and honest reflections. <P>


    There are specific doubts addressed in the book, but no real conclusions reached. If you're expecting a book that features some kind of heart-shattering realization by its author as he reaches a Heaven-sent level of understanding, this might not be the book for you. This is a book of frank self-appraisal by a Christian who has walked out of the box of the intellectual constrictions often placed upon us by the church, our pastors, our teachers, and ourselves. This is a book that asks some hard questions that can't really be answered. Yet in this same book there is a call to faith that cannot be ignored, along with an admonition to keep believing, that is both reassuring and real.<P>


    As someone who eventually learned in her evangelical life that she was never quite in step with the rest of her Christian friends, finding Jason's website, (www.jasonboyett.com), and reading his book, has meant a lot to me. O ME OF LITTLE FAITH not only sends a breath of fresh air careening through the often stuffy realm of Christian publications, but contains a message borne on the winds of honesty, courage, and compassion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2010

    Review: "O Me of Little Faith"

    The first thing I will say about O Me of Little Faith is that it is very easy reading. Boyett's writing is clear, straightforward, and pretty darn funny too. I particularly enjoyed his employment of the humorous footnote, a technique that numerous other authors have used to great affect. He tackles pretty difficult subjects, including The Ontological Argument for God and the philosophy of Kierkegaard, without either flying over the heads of the average reader or dumbing down the subject matter. You can tell he knows something about what he is talking about, without pretending to be an expert where he is not. I like that kind of honesty in an author.

    The real reason that I enjoyed this book so much, though, is because something resonated with me on nearly every page. I know intimately the kind of doubts that Boyett is talking about, because I have struggled and still do struggle with nearly all of them myself, despite the fact that my life story and faith history is quite different from his.

    For example, Chapter 5, "Reverse Bricklaying," is all about Boyett's struggle with prayer, and I found myself saying "YES! EXACTLY!" to pretty much the whole chapter. Like this: "I would guess that, for most Christians, the majority of prayers are prayed silently. Yet I am virtually incapable of silent prayer. The practice of praying in my head - of lining up stray thoughts to present to God in an official, well-reasoned, and coherent manner - is like sweeping marbles with a push-broom on a gym floor. I can't sustain it for any length of time before everything scatters." Oh my gosh YES.

    So, who should read this book? Well, this book is definitely written by a Protestant Christian with an Evangelical background. Does that mean Catholics or Anglicans or even non-Christians wouldn't benefit from this book? I don't know. Maybe. If I had read this book when I was a Catholic, some of the chapters, such as the one where Boyett discusses doubting his salvation, would not have been relevant to me. Although, with a bit of application and translation, I think Boyett's discussions would be helpful for any Christian. Maybe as a Catholic I never doubted the efficacy of my moment of salvation. But I certainly did struggle tremendously with doubting, when I went to confession, whether or not my confessions had been thorough, clear and penitent enough to gain me full absolution.

    And for a non-Christian? Well, while this book does have a couple of things to say about doubt in general, it is pretty much specifically about doubting faith in God and Jesus. So if you don't have faith in God or Jesus, I am not sure what this book would do for you. I suppose at the very least it could be an interesting read for anyone wanting to get inside the head of a thoughtful Christian.

    TThe people this book is really aimed at are people just like Jason Boyett - Evangelical Protestants who are still at some level committed to their faith while also struggling with doubts. If that's you, this book will give you comfort and wisdom.

    And if you are an Evangelical Protestant who has never doubted your faith in your whole life - well, this book might shock or irritate you. But it also might be really good for you to read if it would help you to empathize with folks not blessed with faith as unshakable as yours.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    I absolutely loved this book. Jason Boyett knows how to keep the readers attention. The writing style reminded me of "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. Boyett is informal with his audience and just tells it like it is. He is also not afraid of using humor. I found myself laughing hysterically at a few of the comments he made about his personal life, but not at him. I was laughing because so often I feel the same way he does. Especially, when it comes to doubt. I have had the same issues and still do quite often. The book of James had a lot to say about faith and in James 1:3 he says "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." The more our faith is tested the more our faith is set. Boyett was very real with his faith and his doubts.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy read that will not point you to him, but to yourself and ultimately Christ. What I mean by yourself is as you laugh and read this book you will see yourself more often than not in it and it was great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    O Me of Little Faith, a puny review.

    This book is exactly what the title suggests. It's the recounting of one man's journey with God and doubt.

    Jason Boyett is very forthcoming about his story. I found this honest account of his ongoing battle with doubt refreshing.

    Too many times we either brush our doubt under a rug and pretend everything's fine or just refuse to acknowledge it altogether. At least that's the case with me. More and more I'm unable to ignore the doubts that creep up. (Mom, don't worry, that's not a proclamation of leaving the faith.) I have to meet them head on and either overcome them or learn to live with them, as the author does.

    The thing that I found so beautiful in this book was the choice that he makes to "believe" even when things are unbelievable. That's the hope that I came away with. Even when you can't wrap your head around a concept, you can still choose to have faith.

    Choose to have faith. That's what I want. That's what I choose. Every day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2010

    Asking Good Questions

    I must commend Jason Boyett for catching that most illusive of literary prey - readability. His book (O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling) is both interesting and enjoyable. It is pleasant to read. He combines vulnerability, humility, and self-disclosure with brief (possibly too brief) discussions of Christian apologetics. All the while he tells interesting stories and provides funny illustrations.

    This book provides a personal, ongoing journey through valleys of doubt and peaks of faith. Along the way it provides wonderful gems of Biblical, cultural, and spiritual insight while also running into a few logical and Biblical potholes.

    Boyett has a knack for observing the inconsistencies of modern American "churchianity." He rightfully notes that many of the intellectual and pragmatic objections to Christianity are answered unsatisfactorily by Christians (so-called). For example, he notes the false god of "American evangelical Christian religion" who is "totally cool with the money we spend on concert lighting in the worship center while the widow down the block has a hole in her roof" (p. 129).

    One of Boyett's greatest strengths is also one his greatest weakness. The reader is deeply empathetic with his doubt struggles and particularly interested in the answers he has found to deal with his rollercoaster of faith and doubt. Unfortunately he either refuses to give answers by hiding behind the "I'm no theologian/scholar" excuse or giving examples of unsatisfactory responses he has found (e.g., Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell are not at the top of my list of credentialed, well-researched, exegetically qualified, and philosophically sound apologists).

    Boyett takes issue with a hard deterministic view of God's sovereignty, the philosophical "problem of evil," and purely rational (as opposed to presuppositional) apologetics. While this book cannot answer every philosophical issue of Christianity, I would have hoped Boyett could have offered a few alternative Christian views on these subjects. The only intense objection I have with this book is the conflation of the Biblical perspective of doubt with Boyett's personal doubts. In the Bible various characters doubt the trustworthiness of the promises of God, but Boyett is doubting (it appears) the very existence of God. I cannot find a Biblical character doubting the existence of God.

    All-in-all reading this book is like sitting down for a drink with a close friend. You are never exactly sure where the conversation will take you (e.g., church history, liturgy, sin, existentialism, apologetics, etc.) but you will be glad you had a chat. Along the way you will be challenged and maybe even frustrated. You will learn some good spiritual lessons and you will be encouraged to give voice to the questions and doubts with which you wrestle.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy This Book

    1) It's honest. Brutally honest. It's essentially a book filled with his confessions - how much he doubts and how imperfect he is. We could all learn a lesson or two from his act of honesty.

    2) More likely than not, you have struggled at some point in time with the same questions he struggles with. It's the perfect book to help you feel like you're not alone in your doubting. If you haven't, you're not being honest with yourself - so you should go back to reason number 1 to read it.

    3) This is a story of someone who grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition and learned along the way the value of learning from other denominations. No one denomination is 100% right. Jason pulls from rich liturgical traditions to help him when the simple answer of "Jesus saves" isn't enough to hold him up. At the same time, he embraces the power that exists behind charismatic traditions. I love the way he pulls things from various denominational traditions to help him discover what he believes. If you think you are 100% right in all you do and your denomination or traditions are better than others, revert back to number 1 for why you should read this book.

    4) If you're in full-time paid ministry, there are many people that you encounter that struggle with the same kinds of questions Jason struggles with. Whether you can identify with what he's saying or not, you should know how to relate to people who are where he is. And if you think you can't identify with what he's saying, then I point you back to number 1 for why you should read it.

    5) He's incredibly intelligent. Jason will probably tell you that he's not that smart - but I would disagree. This book is a brilliant portrayal of how intellectual giants wrestle with doubt and yet still have faith. His most brilliant point: faith & doubt are not mutually exclusive. In fact, faith & doubt work hand in hand with one another. If we don't doubt, then there's no need for faith. When we intellectually can't understand something, that's when faith steps in. If you think you understand everything - well, then - I guess you're just stuck with reason number 1 to read this book.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    Slightly better than filet mignon

    Finally. I have needed a book like this for about 5 years now, and Jason Boyett has delivered with O Me of Little Faith. It is a book written by a life-long Christian (like I am) who is immersed in the Christian culture (like I am), is very active in his local church (like I am), and has written several books and magazine articles about Christian/religious topics (like I would like to do), yet he struggles with spiritual doubt (like I do).

    First let me say a big "Thank You!" to Jason for being courageous enough to admit to the world that he wrestles with some intellectual issues in his faith. In the introduction Jason writes, "I am a Christian. I have been a Christian for most of my life. But there are times - a growing number of times, to be honest - when I'm not entirely sure I believe in God."

    The thing that I appreciated most about reading Jason's book is that I felt like he has given me (and many others) permission to own our doubt. Many of us doubters feel like we can't be honest about our doubts because that will show that we are weak. In fact, the tagline of Jason's book is "True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling." But Jason not only talks about his doubt, he also shares why doubt is not necessarily a negative thing, and there are ways to still live faithfully as a follower of Jesus while still having doubt.

    Let me share a few of my favorite moments from the book. Notice the journey Jason takes us on throughout the book:

    *My entire spiritual self rests on the belief that God exists...That's why the question of God's existence is the biggest question of my life and yours. What if everything rests on the back of a turtle whose existence is impossible to prove?
    *The more I struggle with my own faith, the less impressed I am with rational arguments - whether for or against the existence of God.
    *God is hard to prove. God is hard to disprove. The existence or nonexistence of God is unprovable.
    *It's hard to believe in an unprovable, mysterious God. But, mostly, I do. Maybe a better way to put it is that I have chosen to believe.
    *Am I a bad Christian because explaining every detail as "God at work in my life" seems like religious narcissism instead of profound faith?
    *When it comes to matters of faith, I find more common ground among atheists and agnostics than I do with doubt-free Christians. But I still believe. I choose faith, despite my doubts.
    *How in the world do you begin to pray when you don't understand prayer, barely tolerate prayer, and can't find the discipline to get beyond your prayer hang-ups?
    *Liturgy taught me to pray again.
    *I accept my doubt for what it is. I embrace my humanity and the stumbling faith and limited understanding that come with it. I keep walking despite my limp.
    *There are few things that turn me off more than people who speak with absolute certitude about complex issues (like eschatology or the Bible) or deep mysteries (like God or the saving work of Christ).
    *Doubt is an essential part of faith. They are companions.
    *Faith is action - action taken right in the middle of your doubts.
    *Don't let your doubts stop you from living in faith.
    *When it comes to following the teachings of Jesus and the traditions of Christianity, I have decided not to let my doubt paralyze

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Written by a doubter for doubters

    Jason Boyett's latest book is a nice break from his traditional "Pocket Guides" that you may be used to. If that makes you sad, take comfort that the book is relatively small (222 pages) and may still fit in your pocket. In this book, Boyett takes the reader down "the doubter's road" and carefully looks at "the questions many of us have, but dare not say out loud." Questions like: Does God even exist? What is your foundation for faith? How can you really be sure you are saved? And where does my faith go when God is silent? And before you finish your "heretic" sign, know that it's not the point of this book to cast doubt, but rather to admit doubt. Many times through this reading I found myself agreeing with Boyett out loud (which is stupid, because he lives in Texas and can't hear me) and I think this book would resonate with a lot of Christians today regardless of how long you have walked with Christ.
    What I think Boyett touches on is perhaps we doubt the "pseudo-god" that is created by American Christianity. This is the Jesus from t-shirts and bobble heads who wants to give us money, hugs puppies and looks like a castmember from the musical Hair. "I don't believe in that God," writes Boyett. "If I am going to draw close to God, it needs to be a God who's greater than that." And there is no reason I can see why doubt and faith can't exist side by side; one is not the opposite of the other. We worship a God who is both human and deity, flesh and spirit, who died and yet lives. why can't we as his followers be sinners and saints (as Martin Luther said, "simul iustus et peccator") from the world, but not of it, free but chosen .and faithful and at the same time doubtful?
    "Doubt is a condition of humanity" says Boyett. "but doubt is no excuse for inaction. If you wait until all doubt is removed before you follow God, you'll never take the first step of faith."
    Boyett's book is well written and filled with stories that will draw you in and make you laugh. I would highly recommend this book to perhaps the person you know who has question and wrestles with their own sense of doubt or the person who has always felt they had it all together.
    I received this book for free from Zondervan publishing for the purpose of writing an honest review. In no way did I have to like or endorse this book - even though I did and I do.

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