I discovered Eric Metaxas's writing through his biography, "Bonhoeffer," one of my favorite non-fiction titles in 2010. He was thorough in his details and research, but managed to keep the narrative interesting and fast-moving--at least for anyone with the slightest interest in how a one-time pacifist and theologian responded to the events of World War II.
Without knowing much about this latest work, I picked up a copy and discovered other sides to Metaxas and his writing. "Socrates in the City" captures on page the deep thinking and humor of events that took place on a regular basis in Manhattan, and in a few other places as well, gatherings of those who wanted to explore life's tough questions, particularly when it comes to God's place in it all. The book draws from a cross-section of the gatherings' speakers, men such as N.T. Wright, Charles Colson, and Peter Kreeft, who address issues such as human suffering, science and religion, and the source of evil. Each section comes with a conversational, punchy, and erudite introduction from Metaxas, followed by the speaker's words, and then a Q&A section from the time of the event.
Is this a complete defense of religion, God, the fall of man, or any other subject addressed? No. But it is a great way of stirring the heart and mind, of raising questions without always giving easy answers, of urging the modern reader to get curious and even get angry--if that's what it takes to push into a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human created in the image of the Creator.
Metaxas shows a lot of wit and humor, something I didn't expect, and his guest speakers come across as intellectuals who are not too far removed from real life. There are answers here. There are questions. There are conundrums that may never be solved on this side of eternity, and some of the ideas put forth I don't necessarily agree with. The beautiful thing is that the book allows us to believe that such mystery is, well, a beautiful thing.
For those who missed the events and wished they could go back in time and be a part of them, "Socrates in the City" is the next best thing to being there. Someday, we may conquer the obstacle of worm-holes and time-travel and make such a return visit possible. Until then, happy reading!