A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview
Jason B. Ladd
This book was an interesting read. This book is for the most part biography, the biography of a fighter pilot, from school, through military training, to 14 years active duty. But the book is also a spiritual biography. When Ladd open's up about the deficiencies in his personal life, his spiritual life, and how because of the challenge from his wife, he began to explore the Christian worldview and the claims of Christians.
Jason Ladd does an intriguing job of creating parallels between his training and progression in the military, and the spiritual life. There are three main sections in the book, Seek and You Will Find, Be Not Deceived and Always Be Ready. And the chapters in the book are:
Part I: Seek and You Will Find
Chapter 1 The Worst Day
Chapter 2 Rising Son
Chapter 3 He's Got That Loving Feeling
Chapter 4 What's the Question
Chapter 5 Bloody Boots
Chapter 6 The Marines
Chapter 7 Wings of Gold
Chapter 8 You Really Believe That?
Chapter 9 Read, Fly, Repeat
Chapter 10 Will Send the Hornet
Chapter 11 More than Atoms
Part II: Be Not Deceived
Chapter 12 Good-to-Go
Chapter 13 Splashing Myths
Chapter 14 The Christian Caricature
Chapter 15 A Fighter's Faith
Chapter 16 A Gift from God
Chapter 17 Down in Flames
Chapter 18 Your Wingman for Life
Chapter 19 Born in a Bar
Chapter 20 Down to the Dregs
Part III: Always Be Ready
Chapter 21 Putting Out Chaff
Chapter 22 Going to School
Chapter 23 Spiritual Reconnaissance
Chapter 24 Climbing Mountains
Chapter 25 Never Surrender
Chapter 26 Love on the Nishiki
Chapter 27 The Best Day
At the beginning of each chapter is two quotes, some seem to be drawn from sources to offer contradictory views, Shirley Mclean, Deepak Chopra, Richards Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, Eckhart Tolle and others. These clearly non-Christian sources are often paired with quotes from the bible, or Christian authors like C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, or other historic sources often from the classics. I must admit I was surprised by some of the new age or occult like quotes and their purpose in this book. The best I can come up with is to come up with a contrast to the point being made in the chapter following.
Ladd does do a great job of challenging some of the traditions within the military and how they are not compatible with a Christian life; specifically abuse and overuse of alcohol, and partying to blow off steam. Or multiple divorces and remarriages.
In some ways this book reads like a military spiritual nomad's story. Or a like Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Or like a Thomas Merton springing from the military rather than academia. The book is an easy read and written in a very engaging manner. It is easily accessible. Ladd shares his story and many of the factors that led to his growth in his Christian walk. The parallels to his military progression will really appeal to some readers.
Ladd has experienced things most people never will, 14 years of active USMC duty. A tour in Irac, F16 and F/A18 fighter pilot instructor. He has travelled the world in the military, both growing up as a base brat and through many years of his own service.
If you enjoy Military History or the concept of a Church Militant this book will offer you a great view. I know a number of people who would really enjoy this book. Many mainline Christians will enjoy the book I am sure. But I also know a number that would be put off by the military aspect. This book was a good read but is not for everyone.