Staggering Along with God: An Interview Biography

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Staggering Along with God: An Interview Biography

Author:

Ellis Potter interviewed by Iszak Norbert (edited by Peco Gaskovski), with illustrations by Istvan Lente

Publisher:

Destinée Media (original Hungarian edition by Harmat Publishing)

http://www.destineemedia.com

Publication Date:

April 15, 2018 (original Hungarian edition 2017)

Format:

Paperback

Length:

154 pages

OVERVIEW

Ellis Potter has done quite a few things. Raised in a nominally Christian church, he experimented with other religions during the 1960s and became a Zen Buddhist monk. After studying under Francis Schaeffer in the mid-1970s, Potter returned to Christianity and worked at Schaeffer’s L’Abri Fellowship center for many years. Between then and now Potter has pastored churches, founded a missionary organization that worked behind the Iron Curtain, and lectured around the world on various subjects. In 2017, Potter sat down to a series of interviews about his life and the topics which interest him. The original book was published by Hungarian company Harmat Publishing in 2017 as Meredek görbén Istenhez. This new English edition translates the questions and responses into English, giving more new audiences access to Potter’s ideas. The book also includes drawings by Istvan Lente which illustrate scenes from Potter’s life or the ideas he describes.

Potter’s love for theology combined with his Buddhist background give him a unique religious perspective. He talks about the appeal of monastic life, the defining traits of Zen Buddhism, and how spiritual exercises (particularly meditation) can be similar across different religions. This isn’t to say that Potter takes an “all things to all people” approach to religion. He clearly states that he believes objective truth exists and that Christianity is the one true religion. Like many of Francis Schaeffer’s students, he also emphasizes the idea that Christianity must be historically accurate to be true. But unlike people raised in American evangelical subculture, Potter doesn’t feel the need to demonize everything about other religions. He talks about Zen Buddhism’s common practices in an objective way, noting what he found attractive but also the shortcomings that eventually led him to Christianity.

Potter’s eclectic background also means when he emphasizes certain things differently. Being primarily self-taught, he sees connections between topics that formally-educated people miss. This means when he starts talking about Christianity, readers get an orthodox perspective but realize Potter is going into areas which many Christian thinkers never talk about. He notes problems with Contemporary Christian Music that most Christians never consider. He points out biases (such as the need to express everything in Christianese) that Christians who grew up in the church don’t realize they have. For readers interested in evangelical Christianity’s flaws and how to do things better, these insights are a goldmine.

A compelling collection of thoughts by a fascinating Christian thinker.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians interested in apologetics, perspectives on Zen Buddhism and Christianity, missionary work in Eastern Europe during and after the USSR, and Francis Schaeffer’s ministry at L’Abri.

Christian Impact

Potter’s views on faith, spiritual development, and Christian subcultures will enlighten and challenge readers.

Staggering Along With God: An interview biography


Staggering Along With God: An interview biography


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