Book review: The Searchers
by Joseph Loconte
Well, I screwed up this time. I picked up The Searchers from Booksneeze, and let it sit on my shelf for two months while I took care of other promised reviews.
Stupid me. This is a fantastic book, intelligent and raw. Raw, not in the vulgar sense, but in the lead-you-to-the-edge-and-curl-your-lip sense. Then it will draw you back from the edge, like the scent of marsh mellow cocoa by a warm fire. Combine all that with a captivating writing style, and you have a winner.
Two men walked side-by-side one day twenty centuries ago, heads bowed, on the way to Emmaus. A stranger appeared asking why they were so downcast, and they marveled at the stranger’s ignorance of what was happening in Israel. The rabbi Jesus, the hope of their nation, had been rejected by God’s appointed leaders and then brutally killed by the Roman Empire.
Loconte draws us back to this first-century image of a pair of bewildered and beaten men over and over as he discusses the faith-shaking events within Christianity over the years. In so many ways, religion does seem like the poison that many believe it to be. Where is God in all this confusion? As Loconte walks us through the insanity of our world today, with its suffering and wars and occasional inhumanities, we’re tempted to ask the same question. The Searchers is a book about finding “faith in the valley of doubt.” It is a journey, not a book which can be surface-scanned, but one that requires walking in the shoes of others.
Note that this is not an apologetic book. The one little attempt to help us believe in the historicity of the resurrection seemed to me incognizant of the first-century Christian atmosphere, but I won’t dwell on it, because argument is not the focus of the book. Hope is. As we zero in on the close of the book, we’re once again reminded of those two men and their solemn journey home on the Emmaus road. The moment came when their eyes were opened to see the Lord, and for joy, they rushed back to Jerusalem. Hope lives!