Review: Barry Morrow's "Yearning For More"
Reading Barry Morrow’s work is like stepping into a thick and rich discussion in a liberal arts university classroom. Names like C.S. Lewis, Dostoyevsky and Kierkegaard leak throughout the pages as Barry takes the reader on a journey to discover what may be underneath all the weeping and wailing, striving and failing, losing and taking that goes on in the human experience. This book, Yearning For More (Release in Jan. 2013) is an explanation not unlike Lewis’ Mere Christianity or N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian that attempts to use both beauty and ordinary experience to hint at the presence of a God who longs to satisfy those desires. At the outset, Morrow says:
“…it’s not saying too much to suggest that our culture at large has lost its sense of transcendence….Our souls cry out that our lives have an ultimate meaning and pruopse that transcends this temporal life.” (17)
The book is geared, from this quote on, to hearing and addressing that cry of the soul.
Morrow’s writing is incredibly readable, accessible even if you aren’t a scholar of Lewis, and it calls the reader to cultivate a vision of the world Morrow is describing. It is a place where beauty begs us to think about God, where film calls us to understand the root of those longings, and where work becomes an act of giving significance to the world in the long term. Morrow etches these principles into the glass of the book, setting them in front of the reader to examine and do with what they wish. Even someone without a Christian worldview can walk comfortably into the ideas and concepts that morrow provides.
While I consider this presentational style one of the strengths of the book, it is also the ground for what I consider to be an oversight. The book is so strong in it’s pointing toward the satisfaction of desire and longing and yet it is almost entirely Christless in its destination. There are allusions to “the Christian way” and “Christian worldview” but the idea that the revolutionary Christ may carry the day in the practical everyday satisfaction of our longings is nowhere to be found. Perhaps this was the author’s intent, and if so then the content is sufficient enough to cast a vision of God’s satisfaction of our longings. However it seems much like bringing your child to the ice cream parlor on a hot summer day, with money crumpled in a sweaty hand, only to give them a glance at the menu and whisk them back into the car and home again unsatisfied.
I recommend Morrow’s book to anyone who is teaching and searching in the area of meaning and purpose, with the above caveat offered to say that there is still more of the story yet to be told. Perhaps a second volume is being written as we speak.