More answers from the Bible Geek

By  Jasmine Canaria, Youth Speak News
  • August 1, 2007

{mosimage}Ask the Bible Geek 2: More Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens, by Mark Hart (Servant Books, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2007, $12.99 U.S.).

Did you ever wonder why at Christmas time we sing all that music even though we call it a silent night? Mark Hart answers this question and dozens more in Ask the Bible Geek 2.

This is the sequel to Ask the Bible Geek published in 2003. Hart brings insight to his writing as the vice president of Life Teen International, a U.S.-based Catholic youth ministry group.

With amusing anecdotes and insightful answers, Hart attempts to connect Scripture passages with the everyday insecurities and occurrences of a teenager’s life.

The book is based on questions teenagers have asked Hart for his online column at www.life-teen.com. A self-proclaimed Bible geek, Hart’s column and books are titled Ask the Bible Geek. He says it seems less intimidating to his readers.

The book is geared toward teenagers. But its humour, use of Scripture and specific questions make it suitable for a high school and university audience.

{sa 0867167661}Hart suggests taking your time when reading this book, and I agree. It is not meant to be read in one sitting. Ask the Bible Geek 2 is divided into five chapters, according to the various times we encounter God: in difficult times, during Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, during ordinary time and all the time. Since the various questions and answers are not specifically connected, it is helpful to have the columns organized in these subheadings. There is also a sense of symmetry in the format of the book, since every Q & A column starts with a Scripture passage, followed by a question, answer, repetition of the Scripture passage and a summary solution titled “Salvation Given.”

Hart has a remarkable ability to delve deeply into Scripture and easily connect it to our everyday situations. He tackles such diverse topics as whether teens feel misunderstood, how to deal with death and divorce, love at first sight, what God’s message is in nursery rhymes and the origins of Santa Claus. His humour and love of Christ shine throughout, without coming across as forced or false.

Reading the questions posed by teenagers worldwide helped soothe my own insecurities about such issues. It was comforting to hear Hart’s views on the topics and to know that other people experience the same problems. I was often surprised by the Scripture passages Hart chose to connect to each topic, and so Ask the Bible Geek 2 also broadened my knowledge and understanding of Scripture, illustrating the depth of meanings that may be found in the Bible.

Hart is a humorous writer, full of love for Christ and for the people he reaches through his books. While this may not be a traditionally formatted book, there is a main character that shows up in each and every column: Jesus Christ. And if you want to learn more about Him and how His works and words connect to your everyday life experiences, this may be the book for you.

(Canaria, 22, studies psychology at MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.)

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