Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the religion reporter for National Public Radio. I have spoken with Barbara on a few occasions via telephone, but have not had the opportunity of meeting her. However, this past week I read Barbara's first book Fingerprints of God . It will be evident to all who read this book that Barbara possesses an extraordinary mind. She recently received the Religion Newswriters Award and the 200 Gracie Award for Women in Radio and Television. She was also one of 10 journalists selected for a Templeton-Cambridge fellowship in science and religion in 2005, where she and her colleagues spent weeks questioning world-class scientists and theologians at Cambridge University. Barbara grew up a Christian Scientist, but in the early 1990's she left Christian Science and through a series of events, eventually came to faith in a personal God and now considers herself a mainstream Christian.
Fingerprints of God is her attempt to answer skeptics' questions about spirituality by diving into the emerging science of spirituality. The first chapter of the book is worth the purchase price alone. Barbara shares about a fascinating spiritual encounter she had outside Saddleback Church in California. She was on assignment for the L.A. Times in 1995 to discover what causes churches to grow numerically. She interviewed a young lady named Kathy Young on a park bench outside Saddleback's auditorium. Kathy shared with Barbara that cancer had returned to her body, but she believed the cancer was God's way of showing her she was on earth for a transcendent purpose. Barbara writes of how she experienced a spiritual encounter with God on that bench as Kathy described her faith in Jesus. I was captivated as Barbara went on in chapter one to describe her own crossing the "river" experience of personal faith in Christ. The book is written primarily for atheists, agnostics or others who struggle with the very concept of God or that the spiritual is real. Not everyone will appreciate the book, but for those who wrestle with the idea of a personal God who actually cares about individuals, Barbara's book will become a classic answer to their skeptical questions. Barbara Bradley Hagerty lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Devin Hagerty, professor and international security expert, and her yellow Labrador retriever, Sandra Day.
I don't agree with 95 percent of Barbara Hagerty's conclusions, particularly with her denial of the exclusivity of Christ, but if an evangelical conservative is going to be able to reach the intellectual liberal, it is important that we understand the way he or she thinks. This book will help you understand. The only thing we evangelicals should fear about intellectual liberalism is our ignorance of it. I think we display a genuine weakness within our own Bible believing faith when we act scared of what liberalism might do to our own faith. Christ in me is my hope of glory, and others who deny His exclusivity will not be won for truth through those ignorant of their views.
In His Grace,