The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay (Thomas Nelson)
Here’s the final constant for 23 million fans of Lost, the fantastic, mesmerizing, profound-confounding, mysterious television series that concludes its six-year flight this month. The Gospel According to Lost offers one last mind-bending discussion about the theological implications of a program riven with spiritual paradox, biblical allusions and soulful longing.
Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia in Houston, earned a fine reputation for mining spiritual truth from popular culture with books on the Matrix movie franchise and The Sopranos. His rumination on the survivors of Oceanic 815, the Dharma experimenters, the Others and others lives up to that record. Almost every episode of Lost left viewers pondering hard questions—good vs. evil, shades of truth, laws of physics, suffering and redemption, and even time travel. Seay jumps into the fray with the nerdy knowledge of a Lostie and the perspective of a preacher.
One of the things I like most about this book is the fact Seay wrote it between seasons five and six. So, he didn’t benefit from all the answers (we hope for answers!) of the series finale. Lingering mystery and unresolved ambiguity keep this book focused on the grand universal themes presented by the second-greatest TV series of all time. (Of course, M*A*S*H is tops.)
Marv Knox, editor
Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness by David K. Naugle
(William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
Americans cherish our “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But in a yuppie, me-first society, hasn’t the idea of happiness been distorted and disfigured?
David Naugle, chair and professor of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University, guides the reader through this theological treatise proclaiming the need for a biblical view of happiness.
Christians tend to struggle with balancing their many loves—their relationships with family and others, material things in creation, experiences, etc. Some may try to shun all loves but God alone. This isn’t biblical. True fulfillment as human beings comes through understanding our loves and making sure they are in the proper order as God intended them to be—under our first love for our Creator and Redeemer.
Yes, the world is fallen, and the various loves of our lives are disordered. But God’s original creation was grounded in “rightly ordered loves and lives.” Through redemption in Jesus Christ and his gospel, our loves and lives can be reordered as they were purposed to be. God’s blessing of happiness, shalom and fulfillment is a result of this right-side-up state of being.
Greg Bowman, minister to students
First Baptist Church
The Summer Kitchen by Lisa Wingate (New American Library)
Having enjoyed Lisa Wingate’s Tending Roses, I was excited when The Summer Kitchen was chosen as Waco’s One Book selection. And I wasn’t disappointed in the novel inspired by the city’s Gospel Cafe.
Wingate’s encouraging volume contrasts the complicated lives of two women—one in her 40s and one age 12. In alternating chapters, upscale Plano doctor’s wife SandraKaye Darden and rundown Dallas neighborhood preteen Cass Blue share their secrets and struggles. The murder of SandraKaye’s Uncle Poppy shatters her orderly family and seemingly perfect world. As she prepares to sell his house, the mother of two finds comfort in its happy memories. Similarly, Cass Blue’s mother’s death shatters her world. She and her high-school-aged brother run away and land near Poppy’s old home. Cass has trouble finding enough food for herself and her brother.
SandraKaye drives by, stops the children from dumpster diving, and finally realizes they’re hungry. Taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to them leads to an unlikely friendship between Cass and SandraKaye that changes their lives and ultimately the life of the community.
Wingate’s thriller ending doesn’t spell happiness for every character. However, the story powerfully communicates the importance of hope, second chances and the difference one person can make.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas