Monday, April 8, 2013

Your Grown-up Faith

Your Grown-Up Faith: Blending the Three Elements of Belief
By Kenneth L. Parker, Liguori, 2012, 108 pp., ISBN 978-0-7648-2221-6, $10.99 (paper).
This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:
Catholic Library World, March 2013, Vol. 83 Issue 3 p.213.
Kenneth L. Parker’s Your Grown-Up Faith argues for developing a mature Christian faith. He does this by describing three stages of Christian belief: “The Child’s Way,” “The Youth’s Way,” and “The Adult’s Way.” The child’s way is characterized by the acceptance of authorities and the “religious environment they create.” The youth’s way is a period of questioning and curiosity. The adult’s way is where the faith is “internalized,” “the limits of human authorities are acknowledged, and the insufficiency of human reason is recognized” (xx). A grown-up faith would be a synthesis of all three elements.
The three elements of belief were originally developed by Friedrich von Hugel in his work, The Mystical Element of Religion. Parker draws from this work and the life and writings of John Henry Newman. In addition, this work is autobiographical since the author shares his own experience of going through these stages of faith. Parker grew up in the Wesleyan Church and became a Roman Catholic during his doctoral studies in Reformation history at Cambridge University. He has been a professor of historical theology at Saint Louis University since 1992.
Parker argues persuasively that we need to mature in our faith. His autobiographical reflections on experiencing the child’s way, the youth way, and the adult way enhance the value of Your Grown-Up Faith. This would be a good book to read in a study group.

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