Anytime I read a book I ask myself, “who could I recommend this book to?” Since I work with college students I am always on the lookout for books I could pass on to them. My friend Tom Heil’s book, Flavors of Faith, is perhaps one of the best books for college students, and teenagers, that I have read.
Tom was campus minister with Christian Student Fellowship at Penn State, though he moved on to a new job in Ohio the year before I arrived at Penn State as a student. But through a number of friends he left behind, I have gotten to know him a little bit over the years, seeing him at weddings and other various events. He has years of experience working with young people and when he asked if I would be interested in reviewing his book, I jumped at the chance.
Flavors of Faith is a short book, coming in at under 100 pages. Almost for this reason alone, I will be recommending it to my students. College students are incredibly busy already, so they have little time to read books outside of their required reading. From time to time I meet students who have a passion to read and actually are reading books on their own time, which is always a pleasant surprise. When I recommend a book to these students, they may actually read it. But the majority of students simply do not read. I could recommend a book helpful to the lives of Christians in college or I could recommend War and Peace and it would make little difference, they’re not going to read it.
I could see them reading Flavors of Faith. They could read a chapter here and a chapter there and finish it rather quickly. Don’t get me wrong though, its brevity does not mean it is shallow. Tom packs a lot into these hundred pages, from personal stories and illustrations, to memorable quotes and challenging comments. Each chapter explores a different “flavor of faith” that Tom moved through in his life. In that way, it reads like a sort of spiritual biography. But more than that, it is a story that each of us who follow Christ moves through. I found myself resonating with many, if not all, the chapters. At times I could recall being in a similar place in my faith. A few of the chapters may have been describing where I am now.
Overall, this is a great book. I highly recommend it to college and youth pastors to read and to give out to their students. That said, it could certainly be beneficial for any Christian of any age, so if you get the chance, check it out.
Thanks Tom, for an honest and challenging read.