Early evening, a young boy alone on his pony on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills. Three darkening thunderclouds rising higher and higher on the horizon. An electric atmosphere, a quickening, light cooling breeze. A slight shiver and the boy wonders, “Am I being pursued by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?” These sudden, unbidden, unexpected, strange experiences. We all have them. What are they? Mere plucking on the emotional strings of our material selves? Or do they have a deeper meaning? Do they signal the Presence of something other, maybe some Other, maybe some one Other, some thing or some one, above, below, beyond our normal waking consciousness?
James W. Sire has studied a massive number of these accounts. He pairs them with his own experiences and turns to scientists, philosophers, and theologians for explanation. These experiences, he concludes, are signals of transcendence or what N.T. Wright calls echoes of a voice – “the voice of Jesus, calling us to follow him into God’s new world”. This book is an account of the author’s journey to this conclusion.
1. Signals, Signals, and More Signals: Introduction and Definition
2. Holy, Holy, Holy: Signals in the Bible
3. Am I Stepping on God? A Philosophical Theology of Transcendence
4. Christ in Ten Thousand Places: Signals of Transcendence in Christian Experience
5. Darkness Out of Light: Signals Rejected, Naturally
6. Bright Footprints of God: The Role of Signals in Conversion from Atheism to Christianity
7. Spots of Time: Deism, Panentheism, Romanticism
8. Everything Much, Nothing at All: Nirvana as Negative Cosmic Consciousness
9. I Am God: Transcendence as Immanent in the Self
10. Echoes and Arguments: Signals in Apologetics
Endorsements and Reviews
Despite the grinding tyranny of contemporary materialism, the human spirit persists in longing for transcendence. Deeply personal and impressively erudite, Echoes of a Voice explores how our experiences constantly point us in a direction beyond this physical world and the various ways that we have tended to interpret those experiences. Ultimately, Sire challenges us to look for that which satisfies our deepest longings for meaning, for community, and for relationship with the God who constantly reveals himself to his creation.
Gene C. Fant Jr, author of God as Author
For dwellers in our modern ‘world without windows’, or for prisoners in Plato’s cave content with the flickering shadows on the wall, Sire has given us a brilliant and helpful survey of pathways to the sun and freedom – some sure and some illusory. Echoes of a Voice should be read by all who wrestle with communicating faith persuasively today.
Os Guinness, author of Long Journey Home
What makes this book worth reading is … his engagement with such a wide variety of poetry and literature. He gives a fascinating analysis of Pascal’s poem, Memorial, for instance. … I hope Sire’s work will inspire more Christian theologians and philosophers to write on question like why we find stories and poetic language so powerful? What is the trascendent power of fiction art? … I think questions like these should also pique the interest of non-believers and skeptics as well.
Ben Thompson, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 25, Issue 1