Wednesday 1 August 2018

Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church - Jeff Vehige - Find the Faith Book 1

Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church
Find the Faith Book 1
Jeff Vehige
ISBN 9781980666745

I was very intrigued when I found out that Jeff Vehige had written a book. A little over a decade ago, Jeff had several blog iterations, from reviewing science fiction award winners, to discussing movies and books over gumbo. I recall that he wrote some incredibly powerful pieces, but he never seemed to stick with a theme, topic or idea. All his efforts would disappear and if those pages were not archived be lost. And every time one of his efforts ended I thought it was a loss, a loss to intellectual debate, a loss to the arts and a loss to the Catholic blogging community. I cannot think of another author, that when a block closed or stopped posting I missed as much.

Vehige has always just has a way with words. And it did not matter the topic he was writing on, I always got a little excited when an article by him showed up in my feed reader. So yes, I was very excited when I found out he had finally written a book. And it is an excellent read. Typically, I read about a book a day, at least over the last few years. But with this book I took my time and worked my way through it in sections over 5 days. I did want to race through it but
Took my time and only read it when I could sit quietly and read. Not on my commute, nor while my children where playing. I dedicated study time to this book and it was well worth it. The sections in the book are:

Preface to the Find the Faith Series
1. Faith, Reason, and Rock-Solid Convictions
2. Why We Believe in God
3. Why We Believe in Jesus of Nazareth
4. Why We Believe in the Catholic Church
About the Author
About Find the Faith

The preface to the series begins with these words:

"As the title implies, the Find the Faith series is dedicated to helping people-Catholics in particular-find the truth of Christ our Lord and the Church he established. In this Preface (which opens every book in the series), I'd like to say a little about this apostolate.

In short, it's a series of books, along with an accompanying podcast, that walks through the four pillars of the Catholic faith-the creed, the sacraments, morality, and prayer. This fourfold division, rooted in the apostolic Church itself (Acts 2:42), has been used by the Church's two official catechisms: the Roman Catechism, published in 1566, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992.

But Find the Faith is more than a simple walk through Catholic teaching. I want to help you grasp something of the theological, philosophical, biblical, and historical background of Catholic doctrine and worship. I want to explore the relationship between doctrine and morality, and how both should penetrate our spiritual life. Why so much detail? One very simple reason."

Still further in that preface Vehige explains the format, and why he uses it.

"Finally, I want to speak to the structure of this book. It's not often you read a book written in Q&A format. I first considered this format back in the spring of 2015, when I conceived the Find the Faith apostolate. I immediately rejected it as hokey. After all, the Q&A format implies a conversation is taking place. But this wouldn't be a real conversation; I would be making up the whole thing in order to write what I wanted to write. On the other hand, wouldn't I be writing what I wanted to write whether I made up questions or not?

Two years later, and after several failed drafts of the same book, I returned to the Q&A format for one rather ironic reason: I wanted better control of writing what I wanted to write. When talking about theology, I have an incredible proclivity to go down almost any rabbit hole that crosses my path. I discovered this to be especially true when writing, when I don't have the befuddled looks of students to lead me back to the discussion at hand. My tendency to pursue tangents vanished when I started playing around with the Q&A format. It took me out of the solitary act of writing and put me in a classroom setting. It forced me to keep a conversational tone instead of a technical, academic one. In a word, it reminded me of you, the reader."

The format works, and it works very well. In many ways it reminds me of reading the Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Or even reading YOUCat or DOCat. This is one of those books that you can read, and reread, and reread many times over. Each time you read it you will get something more from it. Much as I read through the bible each year, and over the last few years read through the Catechism, I could easily see this as becoming one of those books I read multiple times.

This book was an excellent read. I could see it being used in a High School class, for an RCIA program, for individual or group study. It would be wonderful to work through this book with a small group digging into it and using some of the many resources listed in the Bibliography to go deeper. I am very thankful I stumbled across this book and look forward to future offerings in the series. This book is worth the time and effort to work through it. It will help you grow in your faith. Well done Vehige this book was worth the wait!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jeff Vehige:
Find the Faith Series:

Foundations of the Faith: God, Christ, and the Church

God Speaks, We Listen: Revelation, Faith, and Prayer
The God of Jesus Christ: The Christian Doctrine of God 
The Mystery of Creation: Heaven and Earth, Angels and

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