A Black Cat Book Review
Firsthand by Ryan and Josh Shook
Brothers Ryan and Josh Shook were raised in the Church, sons of a preacher. All they knew was their family’s Christian faith. Somewhere in their teens they began to question the authenticity of their personal beliefs. Did they really believe or were they simply worshipping God with their parents faith, a secondhand faith?
What followed was a time of searching, doubting, drifting, and lots of questions. They tell some stories about themselves during the time they were sort of wandering in the wilderness that are open and honest. They realized they were not going to be satisfied with anything but firsthand faith. Not just the faith of their father but faith they owned, firsthand faith.
The book is written primarily for teens and young adults that are Christian but questioning the validity of their beliefs and the basis of their faith. The book asks the questions young people, and many older folks, are asking themselves and gives insight on how to find the answers. With personal reflection and comments from other young people the brothers don’t answer the questions directly. They do point the reader in the direction of the answers with “Think about It” and “Might Try This” sections of the book.
This is a good book for anyone looking for faith that is not just a mask but one that is real from the inside out. Personally, I liked chapter 5, “Trashing the Checklist” and chapter 6, “Question Everything” the best. The Shook brothers make what may seem to some like radical suggestions. But if read to the end none of it is really radical but it is really solid. The key is to not stop reading; you must read the whole to understand the parts.
I think this would be a good book for a teen group study. It is written in an easy conversational style that will lead to discussion. It has good honest feedback from young people who looked for answers to their questions and doubts and found what they needed. Overall a book worth reading.
This book was sent to me by WaterBrook Multnomah, as a gift, for participating
in an online survey before the book was published.