This weekend, Philip Yancey, a journalist and best-selling author on Christian faith, visited UVa to lecture at Old Cabell Hall. Yancey’s lecture on “Suffering and Grace” came at a fitting time on Sunday afternoon, right after UVa’s loss to Michigan State in basketball, as he joked in his opening. Philip Yancey is known for his focus on the hard questions of life, never shying away from today’s tough topics. In fact, he embraces them.
As Karen Marsh, the executive director of Theological Horizons, the organization which sponsored this event, introduced Yancey, she spoke of the provocative nature of his questioning and search for truth in faith, which reigns clear through his book titles like, What Good is God?, Church: Why Bother?, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Where is God When It Hurts?, and Disappointment with God.
With everything that the UVa community has gone through this year, from the abduction and murder of Hannah Graham, to the urgent issues that the Rolling Stone article brought to light, to the recent brutality on the Corner, UVa has had its fair share of suffering while grace seems to have hit the back burner. Yancey suggests that this is a time for compassion, a time to thoughtfully listen to others. We can be the ones to show grace to our peers, professors, and the Charlottesville community, but this grace does not come from ourselves.
This is a time for deep reflection, a time to question and doubt and figure things out for ourselves, as Yancey promotes. At the end of the day, this is why we are all at UVa, to learn how to analytically question, doubt, and read about daunting issues that affect us all in different ways like suffering and grace.
You can read his new book, Vanishing Grace or check out his website at philipyancey.com to learn more about his perspective.
Julia Scoper, Staff Writer (P)