One of the biggest benefits I’ve gotten out of deep-diving into personality frameworks is the reminder that we all approach the world differently. Looking through the lens of say, the Enneagram, has helped me to better understand these diverse perspectives and increased my ability to extend grace and compassion to myself and others as differences come in contact and often cause friction.
For the same reason, I love reading spiritual memoirs. They remind me that everyone’s journey toward Jesus is different. They remind me to extend grace to myself and others as we work out our faith. They remind me that God created us uniquely, for a purpose.
One such book just released – The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions by Knox McCoy.
In a voice that is humorous and perceptive, Knox shares pop culture anecdotes and analogies that have helped him make sense of life and faith. His ability to transition from funny story to personal reflection is seamless. Though I’ve never been punched in the face (unless you count my visceral reaction to Chapter 18: The Cancer) and don’t consider myself any sort of pop culture maven*, Knox’s stories and insights were infinitely relatable. Also, his footnotes are perfection.
The Wondering Years forever inducted into my cannon of re-readable spiritual memoirs and is easily one of my favorite books of 2018.
*The Popcast with Knox and Jamie is the only reason I ever kind of know what I’m talking about in regards to pop culture. And a lot of times, I don’t always know what they’re talking about. But I still tune in every Wednesday – it’s that good. Same goes with this book. I didn’t always catch the references, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment one bit.
The lovely folks at W Publishing gave me permission to print an excerpt (which you’ll find below) and you can listen to Knox read the first chapter here. I’m also giving away two copies of The Wondering Years over on Instagram!
In case you were wondering… Some other favorite spiritual memoirs are
- Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
- When We Were On Fire by Addie Zierman
- Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
- Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
Without further ado, a snippet from Chapter Three: High Stakes.
Even though I’m a card-carrying evangelical Christian*, trust me when I say that this book isn’t a low-key effort to be like To Catch a Predator, wherein I burst into the consciousness of your soul and, over the course of these pages, make you accept your salvation from Jesus Christ**. At points in my youth, I was very much that person – and with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve developed some, uh, complicated feelings about that behavior and history. Instead, my goal here is to perform something of a spiritual audit of my own faith experience. (Or at leas that’s what my editor tells me. I’m really just here to make a ton of references to Saved By The Bell and hope for the best.)
I realize that makes us strange bookfellows. I mean, why should you care about me putting my faith under a microscope? That feels kind of intimate, no? Well, I guess what I’m hoping for is that you get from this what I get from watching The Profit.
For context, The Profit is a reality show starring Actual Rich Guy Marcus Lemonis. In each episode, he decides whether to invest in businesses that are in operational or financial trouble. To make his decision, he considers three principles: people, product, and process. In other words, are the people at the company hardworking, is the product viable and profitable, and are the processes in place for success? Once he identifies which of these things are broken, he takes steps to right the company, and there is much entrepreneurial rejoicing.
I like The Profit because it’s a good show, but also because I find Marcus’ thoughtful approach to business applicable to many areas of my life, especially my faith. When our faith isn’t as strong as it could be, where have we gone wrong? Is it the people, the product, the process? How do we right what’s broken if we don’t examine it?
And I realize I’m very casually tossing around the word faith as though we all distinctly understand what it means. To clarify, my use of faith is a generalized shorthand for everything encompassing my religious beliefs. In other words, faith is a lot like Mary Poppins’ purse: very simple idea, deeply complicated contents.
* Just kidding – we don’t carry cards. Too mark-of-the-beasty.
** What would this show be called? To Convert a Heathen? To Catch A Convert? Also I can’t believe this isn’t already a show on a Christian TV network.
Knox McCoy – The Wondering Years