On June 5th, Dr. Joseph Loconte, Associate Professor of History at The King's College, published The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt. In the short Q&A below, Dr. Loconte tells readers a bit about the book, and how he was inspired to talk about the search that unites us all.
Q. How would you introduce The Searchers to someone who isn’t yet familiar with it?
The Searchers is a layman’s effort to understand—in modern terms—a remarkable conversation that occurred just days after the death of Jesus between two of his followers and a stranger who joins them on their journey. This ancient dialogue is recorded in Luke 24:13-35. In a relatively short space, we follow the movement of these two friends from a state of doubt and disillusionment to faith and hope. There are several major themes embedded in their conversation: the presence and absence of God in our lives, the experience of grief, the poison of religion, the problem of disillusionment, the hope of resurrection, and so on.
I had never read any author or heard a sermon that tried to unpack these themes and bring them home to ordinary people like me—so I thought I’d make the effort.
Q. What originally gave you the idea to write The Searchers?
Although I’ve read the passage in Luke many times, something struck me a few years ago about its poignancy and relevance, not only for my own life, but for many of my friends, colleagues, and family members.
Q. What would you say is the main point, or message, of the book?
One of the major themes of the book is that the story of these two travelers on the road to Emmaus is not only a genuine historical event, something that really occurred outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. This ancient story, this quest for faith in a world gone mad with doubt, is really a modern story: sooner or later, we all enter the valley of grief, despair and disillusionment. Sooner or later, we all find ourselves among the searchers. What can we learn from their journey and their encounter?
Q. Who do you hope reads this book?
I have two audiences in mind for the book. I want to encourage and strengthen the faith of fellow Christians, especially young believers, who often have a hard time seeing how the Scripture connects to their everyday lives and the world around us. I also hope to speak to the searchers among us, the honest skeptics, who have turned away from the organized church for a variety of reasons.
Although I have benefited immensely from gifted teachers in the church over the years, I often feel that too many pastors are detached from the rough-and-tumble world I have to live in. I’m not a preacher, a pastor, or an author living in some bucolic mountain retreat, fly-fishing in babbling brooks by day and ruminating on life’s big questions by night. I work in New York City and divide my time between New York and Washington, DC.
Life for most of us is filled not only with joys and laughs and grace, but also with challenges and difficulties and burdens—and we need to understand better how to follow Jesus in real life in real time. We need to speak to our friends, and families and neighbors about our faith in ways that make sense to them, that use the stories of our own culture and society to explain God’s great story of rescue and redemption. I hope the book makes a contribution, however modest, to this effort.
You can hear more from Dr. Loconte by following him on his Facebook page.The Searchers is available on Amazon, as well as at many fine book stores.
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in New York City.
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