Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax
Clear Winter Nights is a provocative story that drawn together themes of doubt, faith, the truthfulness of Christianity and family relationships. Seen through the lens of Chris Walker’s, the book’s main protagonist, the story develops through the characters including his fiancée Ashley, his Grampa Gil and a few other characters. This novel or story is rather unusual in that it carries with it more signs of what it means to struggle with the Christian faith and opposing viewpoints than developing a riveting storyline. Chris is in the midst of college in which his faith is being tested through the stimulating teaching of a professor who doesn’t seem to inhabit the kind of evangelical Christianity Christ is involved with. Chris ends up confiding in his grandpa about these struggles and finds not only a sparring partner theologically and spiritually, but a man who has weathered the storms himself.
After digging up some old history about his grandpa, Chris is amazed at how many challenging times his gramps had as a pastor. The point that we don’t really know a person until we dig deeply and ask the tough questions is goes a long way in the story. In the end, we find out that his Grandpa had been a faithful servant of Christ through divisive times and had entertained some of the same doubts that Chris was going through in the present. His grandfather says a penetrating word to him at one point, “Chris, make sure you don’t use scholarship as a way of masking your doubts, of defending yourself against the Bible, or distancing yourself from God’s claim on your life” (50). Basing Christianity as an ethical system ultimately fails because it’s much more than ethics, but ‘about dead people coming to life…God seeking man” (50). Often, scholarship is used as a vehicle to mask the penetrating questions of faith, in turn, we end up having more confidence in the academic tools and methods more than we do the revealed truth we are given.
Overall, I enjoyed this book as a fictional account of some very real and contemporary situations that people face concerning larger questions of life and faith. I don’t think this book was an amazingly developed story but a rather in depth struggle many people face going through college, looking for a trusted guide to help them.
Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah Blogging for Books program for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.