Thursday, November 03, 2005
Review: Pride and Seek
Pride and Seek: an unexpected spiritual journey is this year's young adult devotional from Review and Herald Publishing. I normally don't pay much attention to these devotional books, being of a more intellectual persuasion. (Yes, that's my weakness; don't exploit it.) But when I saw the book was a mini-autobiography by Seth Pierce my interest was piqued.
I knew Seth Pierce for about 6 years as a child and pre-teen. We were in the same grade, Pathfinder club, and his father was the pastor of our church; until he left Seth's mother for another woman. I remember having a sense of disorientation at the time (Can pastors get divorced, mom?), so I can only imagine how this would have effected Seth. He kind of drifted out of the church about the same time I went to academy, and we've only had the loosest of contact since then.
In Pride and Seek Seth describes the twists and turns of his "spiritual journey" from being an Adventist preacher's kid to a nominal-Christian who became a lay youth pastor in a charismatic mega-church and ended up at Union College studying to become an Adventist minister. I know. I gave away the plot, but it's nothing the back cover of the book won't tell you.
The real attraction of Pride and Seek is it's compelling portrayal of an Adventist boy's insider experience with pentacostalism and all that goes with it--vibrant worship meetings, powerful prayer experiences, speaking in tongues, getting slain and drunk in the spirit, etc. The experience of charismatics has been a question on my mind for some time now, and Seth has valuable insights into what we can learn from them and what pitfalls to avoid. I recommend it on this basis alone.
Pride and Seek's weakness is the theoretical places Seth doesn't take the issues he has raised. For example, he discusses his experiences with speaking in tongues at great length but doesn't devote half as much space to explaining the Biblical passages dealing with the subject. Because we're talking about a devotional book, that may be a bit like criticizing Star Wars for not explaining how the hyperdrive works; but this reader would have preferred more explanation of the texts (and for George Lucas to explain the hyperdive to me).
Pride and Seek is written in an easy and accessible prose that will appeal to a wide audience and it has the credibility of first-hand knowledge. While reading it my thirst for a deeper experience with the Holy Spirit was renewed. I especially recommend this book to young adults of my generation who will resonate with Seth's experience.
Seth Pierce's articles have been published in the Review.
In June I blogged about my exprience with clergy misconduct at the same church a few years later.