Book review: A Simpler Faith

by Ed Galisewski


Life is a journey, and author Ed Galisewski has been taking some big steps of late. He writes not as a theologian, but as an everyday guy, a “Joe Palooka” with a “view from the pew.” He tells, earnestly and frankly, about his trek away from denominationalism and where he is at on that journey. We need a simpler faith, he insists, brushing away all the dross until we’re back to the basics.

To be honest, Ed is convinced about many things that I am not. He claims to be a Christian, I claim to be a Christian, yet we don’t agree on even the basics. Here’s the funny thing: I can’t tell whether I’m ahead of Ed on the journey or whether he’s ahead of me! Maybe we’re just on different journeys.

Regardless, I enjoyed the glimpse at another man’s struggle with church, even as I realize I can’t relate to the direction the journey has carried Ed. His new opinion of how to get back to basics means stripping back to C-S-G … Creator, Savior, Guide (you may note the relation to the persons of the Trinity). Although he presents this as the solution to everyone’s church problems, this strategy doesn’t quite work for me. I stand in awe at the wonder of life and the universe, yet the role of a creator in all this remains pure speculation in my mind. I stand in awe at the unselfish sacrifice Jesus made, yet I don’t share Ed’s view of what we need to be saved from. He mentions talking with a rabbi and being astonished that this rabbi felt no need for a savior.  As a conservative Christian, Galisewski naturally thinks that everybody recognizes themselves as a horrible sinner in need of being saved.  As an example, at least three times, Galisewski bemoans the way men’s minds work, once making reference to a study that shows that men’s thoughts turn to sex about 30 or 40 times an hour. Oh, what evil beings we are for harboring within us that incredible, bewildering, life-giving chemical reaction that transformed homo sapiens into an evolutionary success! We shouldn’t be celebrating the miracle of life, we should be condemning it! Save us from this life-giving evil!

OK, I’m being dramatic, but the point is, Christians won’t see eye-to-eye on even what Galisewski considers “the basics” … and we shouldn’t! We are complex, thinking, environmentally-driven individuals with differing spiritual needs, so Ed’s solution isn’t universal, but it IS a good one! Ed advises taking a break from our church, stepping outside its “business plan” to think things through. It’s a scary thing to do … questioning long-held traditions and perhaps even embracing other rituals and worship atmospheres, but he’s surely right that this will contribute to our spiritual growth. Ed despises exclusivity, encouraging Christians to see across denominational lines.

Here’s the bottom line: While the differences of opinion between Ed and I are legion, he appeals to me as a person I would very much enjoy conversing with about Christianity. His approach is respectful and humble, and he and I could learn from one another. What we have within these pages is an everyman’s sincere struggle to be more Godly. Read his book for an insight into what worked for one man and his closest friends.


  1. It doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. It’s sort of a pet-peeve of mine when conservative Christians are baffled that others do not see life the same way they do—-as if their viewpoint is so self-evident. But I’m sure I have my own blind-spots!

  2. That’s a natural thing, isn’t, it, James? I kept thinking as I was reading, “hey, Ed, go just a little further with this line of thinking, your revelation will continue to grow!” It’s like you say, we have blind spots…big, black holes that can’t be entered.

  3. I love your review. Refreshing to imagine the conversation you’d have.

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