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Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church

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4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,851 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
Philip Yancey, whose explorations of faith have made him a guide for millions of readers, feels no need to defend the church. "When someone tells me yet another horror story about the church, I respond, 'Oh, it's even worse than that. Let me tell you my story.'I have spent most of my life in recovery from the church."
Yancey acknowledges that many spiritual seekers find fe
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by Bantam Books of Canada Ltd (first published January 1st 2001)
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Kim Voss
Sep 09, 2007 Kim Voss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read by Philip Yancey. His style is easy and he knows his audience includes both Christians and those who are searching. I've enjoyed everything I've read by him because of this.
Roshea
Jun 07, 2013 Roshea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
The book title says it all - particularly the emphasis on unlikely mentors. Philip Yancey witnessed, like many people, the injustices, such as slavery and racism, inflicted by the church in the name of God. Instead of walking away from the church, he journeys back in time and examines the life of 13 remarkable men who are not preached about as a fine Christian examples. However, on sorting through these unlikely men's lives he discovered God's handiwork. Mahatma Ghandi, India's 'Great Soul', l ...more
Carrie
Apr 20, 2008 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love love love this book. yes it falls in the christian category, but it's simply about people who lived their lives in a way that's bound to inspire you. the 13 mini-biographies give you a good sense of these people and yancey helps you to learn more about them through suggested readings at the end of each chapter. i've read 3 other books already just based on what i learned from this book.
Ben Zajdel
Dec 17, 2011 Ben Zajdel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is rare when you find a book that can change your whole perception on life. Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey not only changed my perception, but did what a good book is supposed to do: inspire a person. I will point out that not everyone will find it to be so dramatically life-altering. But Yancey had a childhood similar to mine, and his perspective is unique. I know that I'm a little late in reading this book (it came out in 2001) but I couldn't help but spread the word about it.



The subtitle
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Melanie
Jul 07, 2009 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melanie by: Walter Wink (The Powers That Be)
This is the most moving and encouraging book I have read in a long time. What I liked best about it was how Phillip Yancey doesn't just compile a "top ten" list of inspiring people and reproduce children's story idealizations of their lives. He interweaves his own journey of faith, growth, and repentance with stories of how each person challenged him to reexamine his life and values, while avoiding the temptation to whitewash them into saints. I was very touched by the second chapter, on Martin ...more
Modigliana Young
Nov 01, 2015 Modigliana Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every few years I seem to come back to this book. I find it refreshing. The mini biographies are so interesting I get frustrated when Yancey turns to reflecting on himself - which is silly because he wrote the book as a type of spiritual autobiography. The reading recommendations at the end of each chapter are very enticing.
Krisztina
Philip Yancey’s writing is a pleasure to read. He's clear and concise, weaving through such little details that you get completely drawn into reading. Still, the book is not an easy read, because it’s a thoughtful reflection on the faith journey of an intelligent writer and also because it makes you start thinking about where do you stand in your own life, faith, relationships. Philip Yancey holds a mirror up to our own failures as well as his own. It’s a book that makes you set aside time for s ...more
Mike
Apr 06, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Philip Yancey freely admits that he has "spent most of my life in recovery from the church." He grew up in a racist, cult like church in Georgia. He grew to reject most of that church's teaching but yet he still retained his faith. How? This book is his answer.

Yancey profiles 13 people who have influenced his faith. People who allowed that faith to flourish despite the damage he suffered from the religion of his youth. Some of these people he met but some he knows only through their lives and w
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M. H.
May 22, 2016 M. H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
لا ينقل هذا الكتاب سوى صورة حية نابضة مدهشة متفردة عن الإنسان، بصدق وقوة ووضوح، في رصانة مرنة، وبلا أي أقنعة. من أروع وأصدق ما قرأت على الإطلاق..
Matthew
I read this book in one week, while doing a missions trip with my church to Guatemala.

I've long identified with Yancey, who comes from hardcore fundamentalist deep south segregationist Baptist roots; I too come from fundamentalism and the apocalyptic "low church". His earlier works cleverly slide in progressive, even liberal thought into a larger Christian context that paints a very different Jesus from the ugly model that (rightly) gets all the press.

But in this book he explores the people who
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mirela Darau
I like yancey very much!! he's one of my favourite authors, and, toghether with wurmbrand, my favourite author on "spiritual matters":) I found the title of this book intriguing and captivating at the same time, but when i opened it and saw it is about his mentors, i was thrilled. As far as it concerns me, nothing can influence and teach me more than a good living (or once living:P) example. So i'm excited to read it!

I read so far about Martin Luther King Jr., Chesterton and dr. Paul Brand. Rea
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Jeff Zell
Aug 30, 2015 Jeff Zell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, memoir
Yancey’s biography is inspiring. Yancey grew up in a Fundamentalist congregation in Georgia in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Church was the center of his family’s life. That particular church was loaded with rules of “thou shalt nots.” No dancing, drinking alcohol, card playing, etc. The congregation’s pastor also preached racism from the pulpit.

After High School Yancey went to a Bible College. The Bible College was slightly more relaxed, however, Yancey and his girlfriend, now wife, were “caught”
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Nicole
Jul 13, 2015 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one awhile ago and neglected to review. Too bad, or I could have recorded some of the quotes that stood out to me and the alleyways my thoughts took to follow them. I do remember, though, that the author's story, and those of the people he wrote about, made me feel woefully ignorant of world history. Like sadly, sadly ignorant.

Here are a few quotes I did mark:

"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly and with a willingness to accept the penalty" (24). - Martin Luther Ki
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Emmanuel Elkomos kolta
عندما اراجع القائمة بأكملها ...
مارتن لوثر كنج الابن- زعيم سياسي
جي.كاي.تشيسترتون-محاضر في كلية اللاهوت
د.بول براند -متخصص في معالجة مرض الجزام
د.روبرت كولز - طبيب نفسي
ليو تولستوي-روائي و مصلح اجتماعي
فيودور دوستويفسكي -كاتب روسي
موهاندس كاي. غاندي -زعيم هندي
د.سي.إيفرت.كوب-جراح عالمي و سياسي
جون دون- شاعر و كبير الأساقفة في وقته
آني ديلارد- كاتبة و صحفية
فريديريك بوشنر- واعظ و كاتب مسيحي
شوساكو إندو- كاتب ياباني
هنري نووين- كاهن و أستاذ جامعي
، أري أشخاصا بنقائص لا أشخاصا كاملين .سيشخص طبيب نفسي علي الأرجح
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Lyndsey
Philip Yancey is one of my favorite spiritual writers because he does more question-posing than answer-giving. This book is a discussion of writers and thinkers who have been most influential in his life. A list including MLK Jr., Annie Dillard, and, one of my favorites, Henri Nouwen. Took about eight months to slowly read this. Love it.
Charles
Mar 29, 2015 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Philip Yancey book!! Kudos to my churchmate for letting me borrow this.

Philip Yancey once again weaves a story based on people that changed the outlook on his faith of Christ. This people may not be perfect people, but they were made fully alive by the principles and love of Christ.

From Martin Luther King's fight of racism and equality, G.K. Chesterton's exuberance of his faith, Dr. Paul Brand's heart of a servant, Dr. Robert Coles' fascination of childlike faith, Leo Tolstoy's lif
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Seth
Mar 19, 2015 Seth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My life was one of those stories that gave every indication that I would leave the faith--I was angry with God, scripture, the church. I desperately wanted to abandon the framework I had been taught and start with a clean slate. Yet I held on, often, as Jonathan Merritt described it, by "A Thread of Grace." I adored this book for that emphasis. Yancey explored the lives of incredibly flawed Christians (and at least one non-Christian) and examined their doubts, struggles, insecurities, and incons ...more
Ron
Interesting, but hardly earth-shaking.
Kate
I read Yancey's "Soul Survivor" because the subtitle (How My Faith Survived the Church) suggested that it might help heal some of the pain the Church has caused me recently. Unfortunately, I misinterpreted the subtitle. The book isn't about the author's relationship with Church aside from how it scarred him and damaged his relationship with God. Instead "Soul Survivor" is about what Yancey's faith mentor's taught him about God, grace, and God's relationship with broken humans.

Yancey's book didn
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Jodi
Nov 04, 2010 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a quick read, but one that challenges my attitudes and belief structure in a good way. This book makes me want to be a better person and Christian. It makes me examine my faith in a practical way. We're not talking "tea party" fanaticism here; we're talking about living life with the realization that whatever I do or say, or don't do or say, can have a profound affect on those around me. This book is about real people, who are nothing special in their own minds, but who leave a legacy of the ...more
Phillip
This book was read over a month or so as part of a church weekly book group. We did a chapter a week. This was my first exposure to Yancey, and I had mixed feelings. He's more conservative than me and has a different approach to the church (both big "c" and little "c") than me, so that was a bit of a barrier. I enjoyed the first half or 3/4'ths of the book -- I gained exposure to a lot of people I've never heard of and how they served as various examples of Christianity (except the Gandhi chapte ...more
Angus Mcfarlane
I found this book was much less tightly written than what I think are Yancey's best - '....Grace' and 'The Jesus...' but I also felt more inspired in some ways by it. (I also don't think the premise of reflecting on how these people changed or affected him really came through - where the reflection took place I didn't find it particularly deep and most of the space was spent discussing the others, which is probably a good thing).

I felt some synergy with some of the familiar characters - Ghandi
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Caylene
Dec 09, 2009 Caylene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip Yancey is my favorite Christian author. I thought I had read most of his books until I came across "Soul Survivor" at a used book store. "Soul Survivor" is Yancey's description of 13 influencial authors, humanitarians, scientists, missionaries, pastors, etc. (some of which he has met in person and some he's only read about). These people have helped shape Yancey's faith through the years. Each chapter is a mini-biography of one person - people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Annie Dil ...more
Renee
Oct 18, 2008 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church-life
A book about the thinkers, writers, dreamers, doers & believers that Yancey has either known or read. People who have influenced his faith in some significant way. And helped him rediscover God after rejecting his southern fundamentalist, racist "Christian" upbringing.

This book provided a great introduction to some really amazing folks both historical and contemporary, whose works I was not familiar with. Like G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Paul Brand and Annie Dillard. And others I knew of but not in
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Sue
Yancey's writing is a breath of fresh air amidst so many Christian books on doctrine, end times, family dynamics and other hot topics. He doesn't write from a position of authority, but from the point of view of a questioner, learning as he writes.

This particular book gives potted biographies of thirteen men and women who have had profound influences on Yancey's life and faith. They're not great campaigners of the modern church, or even martyrs of old. Instead, these are flawed people of the 20t
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Bryon
Dec 09, 2012 Bryon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite subject to write about is people. Of those people, the ones I want you to know about most are those that have helped me grow spiritually, helped me grow closer to God, or helped me point others to God more effectively.

Philip Yancey, in many of his books is truthful enough to write about a time early in his adult life when he wrestled with his faith. The faith tradition he grew up seemed hypocritical, irrelevant, graceless, and out-of-touch. It just didn't make sense to him to continu
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Heidi Petterson
Jul 04, 2011 Heidi Petterson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
After reading What's So Amazing About Grace? and loving it I picked this book up. It sat on my bookshelf for over a year before I finally read it. I didn't know what to expect with a subtitle like How My Faith Survived the Church but I definitely knew I would be able to relate to some degree. It is amazing how Yancey brings up so many brilliant points without ever being disparaging (I can't say I have that gift, myself). It is an excellent read for so many reasons, not the least of which are the ...more
Tintinrulz
Jan 18, 2013 Tintinrulz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can count on Philip Yancey for one thing, that would be complete and utter honesty in his writings. That's a rare quality, especially amongst Christian writers. This book is a great read, if at times a little dull (personal preferences - some people are more interesting than others). Here Yancey explores the lives of 13 people who helped him to retain his Christian faith and live for God, despite the hypocrisy and hurt he experienced in the church. He praises them for teaching him valuabl ...more
Nermine Hosni
Nov 13, 2013 Nermine Hosni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#جي.كاي تشيسترتون: ( الطبيعة - الايمان مع خفة الظل - الفرح)
تعلمت ألا اضحك وألا ابتسم وألا ابكي حاولت ألا اهتم او ان يكون لدي رد فعل في مواجهة أمور عدة : البرد او الحرارة ، الروائح الطيبة او الروائح الكريهه الجمال او القبح المحبة او الكراهية
ان جمال العالم هو ابتسامة السيد المسيح الرقيقة معبر عنها من خلال المادة ص

قد يكون الله صنع كل اقحوانه علي حده لكنه حتماً لم يتعب البته من صنعها قد تكون لديه الرغبة في الطفولة الي الابد لأننا اخطأنا وتقدمنا في السن لكن ابانا السماوي اصغر منا سناً ص

قال تشيس
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Dri
Dec 20, 2009 Dri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
I really like Yancey, however I think this is the fourth or fifth book I've read by him and after a while it's a bit repetitious. There were some stories he wrote in there especially ones about Paul Brand, Martin Luther King,Jr, Ghandi, Tolstoy, Henri Nouwen that I found insightful and informative, but mostly b/c I did not know their life stories. In much of his other books as in this one, Yancey's main points are:life is difficult, humans are sinners, pain in this world is real, churches often ...more
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle: ...more
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“Christians are not perfect, by any means, but they can be people made fully alive.” 24 likes
“We admit that we will never reach our ideal in this life, a distinctive the church claims that most other human institutions try to deny.” 10 likes
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