Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt and What comes After by Trevin Wax is a short apologetic work in the form of a fictional story. On the surface, the story seems a bit typical with the young recent college graduate, a twenty one year old man named Chris, considering marriage and a new endeavor as a leader in a church. Chris' fiancé, Ashley, is unfavorably portrayed as a clingy, naïve girl whose sole focus is on marriage. Who can blame the newly graduated young man who questions his decision to marry. In fact, as an older reader, I feel that breaking off the engagement was a wise decision, and not in of itself a reflection of a crisis in faith. I really dislike how the author equates Chris' uncertainty about marriage with his uncertainty about faith. In fact on page 144 it explains, "On one side were Jesus and Ashley. On the other, an obscure vision of himself." This artificial dilemma is ridiculous and I found it unsettling that the author would equates these two things as on the same level.
Once the reader gets past this side plot of the stagnant superficial relationship an entirely new, deeper meaning to the story emerges. In essence, as indicated by the subtitle, "theology in story"- this book is the perfect apologetic and theological tool. Just about every theological objection and issue is brought up, such as the ideas of relativism and absolutes, morality, world religions, the historical accuracy of scripture, the divine nature of Jesus, grace and even homosexuality. The story centers around a series of dialogs between Chris and his grandfather- a former preacher, during the course of a holiday weekend. In fact the clear winter nights of the title reflect Chris' newly found clarity concerning certain unpleasant life circumstances as well as the questions and doubts that follow. Chris begins to question his beliefs and in light of his objections, his grandfather lovingly, yet firmly responds in light of scriptural truth. In the end, Chris is able to forgive his father who he had been holding a grudge against and recover his faith. The story ends with Chris rushing to reconcile with his fiancé. I can't help but find myself disappointed as I felt his initial decision to hold off on the relationship to be wise in light of his age and the girlfriend's demanding. clingy nature, and immature spirituality. I feel this book would be good for any young adult who may or may not be questioning his faith. I believe rushing into a marriage at 21 sends the young reader the wrong message, nevertheless. It was hard to get past this aspect of the story. As a blogger I received this book published by Multnomah publishers for the purpose of writing this review.