Instances of Discovery

The Ironic Christian’s Companion: Finding the Marks of God’s Grace in the World. New York: Riverhead Books, 1999; paperback, 2000; eBook 2015.

“WHAT DOES an ironic Christian look like? ‘One of the chief characteristics of an ironic Christian,’ says Patrick Henry, is an instinctive, abiding suspicion of no-loose-ends answers.’ An ironic Christian ’inhabits a world that is more “as if” than “just like."’ Henry seeks to discern the ‘field marks’ of God's grace embedded in life's paradoxes and unpredictability.

“Henry gathers a rich assortment of conversation partners from the worlds of physics, literature, history, politics and psychology. Folks as diverse as Vaclav Havel, Thomas More, Alice in Wonderland, Julian of Norwich, the ‘Star Trek’ crew and Clement of Alexandria illuminate his path. He explores the interior landscape of hope through a letter he wrote—during a time of isolation and loneliness—to Alyosha, a character in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Here he introduces Alyosha to characters in Solzhenitsyn's The Cancer Ward. Another chapter exegetes Dr. Seuss's The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, demonstrating the unexpected avenues through which grace touches our lives. Bartholomew discovers that ‘hope and despair, problem and solution, and plea and help uncannily masquerade as each other.’ …

“His lively language (‘science fiction has been an aerobic workout for my imagination’) and personally revealing style make the book eminently readable. True to his word, we are treated as companions in discovering the ‘field marks’ of an extraordinary/everyday grace that surprises and transforms.”

~ Douglas R. Loving, The Christian Century 117/11 (April 5, 2000), 401-02