Can we choose the destiny of our own lives and where, exactly, are we going? These are two crucial questions that underlie Ward Smith’s intriguing book Who Me?
Comprised of 26 short essays on such topics as the nature of sin, the function of the brain in spirituality, interconnectedness, free will, and the tensions between government and religion, the author explores the delicate and sometimes volatile relationships between faith and reason. By applying systems thinking, an interdisciplinary way of looking at self-regulating systems in nature (such as the human body or an ecosystem), Ward pontificates on how the system of Christianity (which Paul himself called a body) is currently evolving in the modern world. Can we affect that evolution? Smith believes so and his book serves as a call to action, of sorts.
Smith is an intelligent writer and handles his material with a seemingly healthy balance of philosophical and concrete explanations. His remark on the nature of the born-again experience is astute: “Belief can be an epiphany related to some sort of trauma but is more likely to be a process involving time, effort and continuous learning…It seems likely that a born-again epiphany includes an unconscious period of learning in preparation”; and his thoughts on the nature of reality are thought-provoking: “Perhaps the human mind and the God mind are two sides of the same coin, and evolution is a process of reducing the distance between the two.”
Ward’s observations are refreshing, yet the book could have been better served with a healthy dose of copy-editing; a better title (the current one doesn’t hint at the depth of thought here); and better organization (for instance, Chapter 20 with its explanation of systems theory would have worked better at the beginning of the book). Still, this book can be recommended to church groups interested in intellectual debate. They will find much to talk about in these pages.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.