Item description for Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life by Os Guinness...
Overview Have you woken up to the journey of life? Have you reached a point where you long for something more? Have the things you have striven to achieve turned out to be far less than enough? Do you desire to unriddle life's mystery and pursue a life rich with significance? Long Journey Home is a seeker's road map to the quest for meaning. Rich in stories and profoundly personal as well as practical, it explores the great philosophies of life and charts the road toward meaning taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries. Written for those who care and those who are open, it assumes no faith in the reader, only the recognition that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care about enough to seek to make sense of it and to make up our minds for ourselves.
Publishers Description Have you woken up to the journey of life? Have you reached a point where you long for "something more"? Have the things you have striven to achieve turned out to be far less than enough? Do you desire to unriddle life's mystery and pursue a life rich with significance? "Long Journey Home" is a seeker's road map to the quest for meaning. Rich in stories and profoundly personal as well as practical, it explores the great philosophies of life and charts the road toward meaning taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries. Written for those who care and those who are open, "it assumes no faith in the reader, only the recognition that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care about enough to seek to make sense of it and to make up our minds for ourselves."
"From the Hardcover edition."
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Studio: WaterBrook Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.64" Weight: 0.64 lbs.
Release Date Nov 18, 2003
Publisher WaterBrook Press
ISBN 1578568463 ISBN13 9781578568468
Availability 0 units.
More About Os Guinness
Os Guinness is senior fellow of the Trinity Forum, a forum for senior executives and political leaders that examines contemporary ideas in the context of faith. He is the author of several books, including The Call and The American Hour, and coeditor of Invitation to the Classics.
Os Guinness currently resides in Burke, in the state of Virginia.
Reviews - What do customers think about Long Journey Home: A Guide to Your Search for the Meaning of Life?
I didn't get much out of it Jul 25, 2008
I was hoping that this book would help me to find a process to answer issues wround finding meaning and signifcance in life-it didn't. Seemed to be just a bunch of quotes from other authors that didn't inspire me.
A Seeker's Roadmap Aug 20, 2004
Author of numerous works of theology, religious sociology and cultural apologetics, Os Guinness is one of today's most perceptive and engaging writers. This, his latest book, is an exceptional work that deserves to be read widely and disseminated eagerly.
Written as a seeker's road map to the quest for meaning, and presented as an exploration of the road toward meaning as taken by countless thoughtful seekers over the centuries (p.8), Long Journey Home offers insight into how such meaning can be found today. Beginning with the dictum that the unexamined life is not worth living (p.12) and concluding with the realization that the untransformed life is not worth finding (p.204), Guinness invites the reader to join him, and to recognize with him, that the humanness of life as a journey is something we should all care enough about to want to make sense of (p.9). Winsomely written, replete with stories and choice quotations, I believe this volume and its approach will resonate with significant numbers of people.
Structured around four major sections, with each section highlighting a particular stage of the journey, this work offers no `keys' to happiness, no `short cuts' to success and no `techniques' to master. Avoiding both simplism and stereotype, Guinness offers the thoughtful seeker only a well-beaten path to follow. The stages of the journey mapped out by Guinness are: (1) The asking of questions, (2) Actively seeking out answers to the questions, (3) Evaluating the evidence for the answers, and (4) Commitment to what is discovered, realizing that all stages of the journey ought to culminate in responsible action.
In the first section, Guinness introduces the journey by pointing to the human desire to know meaning beyond the meaning we know. Building on sociologist Peter Berger's identification of "signals of transcendence" (those catalytic experiences in everyday life that point to a higher reality), Guinness illustrates the impetus deep within us all to search for more. Pointing to G.K.Chesterton's experience of gratitude, W.H.Auden's absolute sense of justice and the impossibility of not condemning evil, as well as C.S.Lewis' deep sense of joy, Guinness articulates how such experiences raise questions and creates seekers.
With the second stage of the journey characterized by actively seeking answers to the specific questions raised the focus of this volume now falls on truth-claims and the nature of the search for answers (p.68f). Showing his practical genius in narrowing down what could potentially be an overwhelming search, Guinness counters two frequently voiced objections. First, that the search for answers is unnecessary (because all beliefs at their core are the same), and second, that the search for answers is impossible (because there are too many beliefs to investigate). Guinness then shows how the truth lies somewhere in between and in so doing introduces the idea of `families of faith' (p.69). By addressing the vexed question of evil, suffering and death among the Eastern, Secular Western and Biblical `families of faith' that Guinness exemplifies how the search for answers can proceed.
Building on the answers gleaned in the previous stage, the third stage of the journey commences when the answers arrived at are evaluated. In short, this stage asks: Are the answers uncovered true? Acknowledging the controversial nature of truth-claims today, Guinness attempts to clear away some of the fog (p.120ff) and to shed light on the notion of truth. (Following in the footsteps of Francis Schaeffer, he talks about truth in terms of its correspondence to reality and its livability). Managing to avoid a complicated and protracted discussion of all things epistemological, the argument of this section is propelled forward by exposing two common roadblocks: the skepticism of old wounds and the skepticism of bad experiences inflicted by people of faith (p.132). Leading ultimately to a consideration of the identity of Jesus Christ, Guinness shows his dissatisfaction with those who dismiss the evidence for truth and shows up two equal and opposite mistakes: The setting up of impossible standards of truth, and the attempt to bypass the question of truth altogether (p.145). In contrast, two positive means of assessing evidence are advocated. One, the examination of particular beliefs "up close and in detail' (illustrated, in this instance, by Phillipe Haille and Eleanor Stump). And two, seeing the `big-picture' or assessing large webs of interwoven truth claims (i.e. worldviews).
In the fourth and culminating stage of the journey, Guinness focuses on individual responsibility and the full embrace of responsible faith. Emphasizing commitment in light of the conclusions the search has led to, this final section does what too few books of this genre do. It warns against the intrusion of techniques and the simplification of faith. It embraces the diversity of ways in which individuals come to faith. It highlights the holistic nature of faith, recognizing that people are far more than walking minds. It celebrates the often forgotten reality that we are never more ourselves than when we come to faith. And it wonderfully plays up the truth (illustrated by the story of Simone Weil) that we find God because He first finds us; that the secret of our quest for purpose and meaning lies not in our brilliance but in His grace.
As a reviewer, I've not rushed my description of the contents of this book because I believe the ebb and flow of its argument deserves to be highlighted. On the whole, this book deserves to be read as much by pastors and preachers as by the `seekers' it was penned for. It is an excellent volume that draws upon classical and contemporary sources (often juxtaposed in fascinating ways), which is informed by a sound biblical anthropology (cf. p.198ff), and which dares to rely upon the diverse integrity of human beings and the sovereign freedom of God. Long Journey Home is a book whose themes and approach ought to shape evangelism, inform preaching and dissuade anyone from dependence upon, generic, pre-packaged, `one size fits all' forms of witnessing.
Help for the seeker mixed in with Christian apologetics Jan 20, 2004
Os Guinness states in the introductory chapters of this book that it is written "for those who are asking enduring questions" such as "How do we unriddle the mystery of life and make the most of it?" Or "What does it mean to find ourselves guests on a tiny, spinning blue ball in a vast universe?" He endeavors to guide the seeker through four stages in the quest for meaning: A Time For Questions, A Time For Answers, A Time For Evidence, and A Time For Commitment. These four stages also make up the four section of the book.
He does a decent job of telling how others have made the journey through skepticism to faith, and of explaining the process and the potential rewards and dangers. He is great at dropping the memorable quote or anecdote to illustrate a point. He is obviously quite widely read but I sometimes wondered how deep his knowledge goes.
Unfortunately, the book was not all that I had hoped it would be. I was looking forward to an objective look at the process of being a "seeker." While the book does explain that process it became quickly apparent that the author also had another objective--to steer the seeker towards a particular "meaning of life," that of the Christian faith.
At the beginning of Part Two, Guinness states that there are three leading families of faith in the modern world: the Eastern family (including Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age), the Western family (including naturalism, atheism and secular humanism), and the Biblical family (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). He then writes a chapter on each of the families in which he "endeavored to portray them straightforwardly and accurately."
I found the chapter on eastern faith (Buddhism & Hinduism) to be woefully inadequate. The author's childhood in China and his studies under a Hindu guru (length of time studying not mentioned) are trotted out as if they make him an authority on eastern religion. However, he only gives a cursory and in my opinion inaccurate picture of Buddhism and Hinduism today.
The same can be said for his chapter on secular humanism. He highlights two writers, Bertrand Russell and Albert Camus, as the archetypal secular humanists. Both Russell and Camus were relatively bleak about mankind's future, so Guinness paints secularism as a pessimistic philosophy. Apparently for him there is no such thing as an optimistic humanist.
He then writes of the biblical family as being that family of faith that most closely mirrors the truth. Note that in this chapter he excludes any discussion of Islam (the second-largest religion in the world behind Christianity). The rest of the book (Parts Three & Four) is basically Christian apologetics. Not that there is anything wrong with apologetics, but I feel that some people will be mislead into buying this book because they think it may be an impartial guide in their search for meaning. Nowhere on the jacket or in the introduction is it stated that this book is meant to be a guide towards Christianity.
That being said, "Long Journey Home" is still a good book that asks penetrating questions and offers some useful insights for the seeker who needs some direction for starting his or her quest.
Thoughtful, Knowledgeable Guide To The Search Dec 1, 2003
The search for the meaning of life--now talk about a topic for a book.
Guinness knows what he's writing about. Not just his search for the meaning to life, but in his search his reading of philosophy, literature, art and biography and other seekers is included herein.
This is profound and chock full of wonderful, deep statements of seekers.
He carefully, philosophically goes through each step of seeking. His background of being born in Buddhist China to his time with Hinduism, then his education under classical secular humanism at Oxford well qualify him as such a guide.
Just one salinet quote from this marvelous read is: "The secret of the search is not our 'great ascent' but 'the great descent'--of God toward us. Instead of the seeker finding love, love seeks out the seeker."
Highly recommended for thoughtful seekers, to be given ones we know and for those of us whom God has already sought out and now on the way to serve Him eternally.
A Journey Worth Making Oct 12, 2003
This book is a very fine distillation of wisdom applied to the "big questions" of life's meaning and purpose. Os Guinness takes the reader on a tour of how the world's major religions and some of its greatest thinkers have wrestled with questions of ultimate significance. How does death and human suffering affect our sense of hope and longing for purpose and meaning for our lives? What is the place of gratitude for life's goodness? What principles are worth living and dying for? There are no prepackaged answers to these questions, of course. But whether or not we are to believe there is an answer and what road we take to lead us there are crucial steps in the journey upon which we are all embarked. Whether we conscious of it or not, life is taking us somewhere. When we get to the end, will we look back on our journey with satisfaction and fulfillment or with a sense of shame and loss? For those who feel that an unexamined life is not worth living, this book is provides much to consider. Philosophy and Religion are not an intellectual game we can play with detachment and control over the outcome. The questions are bigger than we are and the Answer must be bigger still. The implications of the search for your life's meaning, if you follow it honestly enough, will end up handling you rather than you handling them. Are you ready? Then read on...