Happy Monday, everyone! Today I have the opportunity to participate in the Re-Launch Anniversary Event of One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd. For more information about the author or the book, follow the provided links. This memoir tells the story of Jason’s discovery of the Christian faith. Excited to share some thoughts today!
I received an eARC copy of One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.
I haven’t read many books like this one. I would not call it a novel. It’s part memoir, part Christian research paper, and part small history of the Marine Corp. For me, that makes it more unique than my usual genre. And that made it worthwhile.
One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd is the story is his journey to accepting the Christian worldview as a U. S. marine. The book pairs the author’s experiences with thoughts from Christian philosophers and the scriptures. He showcases the ways Christianity and military service can be intertwined. Additionally, Jason discusses many topics in connection with Christianity–looking at everything from drinking alcohol to raising children through the lens of God. Ultimately, Jason is able to find added meaning and peace in life through Jesus Christ.
My favorite elements in this book were the personal stories Jason shares. I enjoyed his candor and humor as he related events from his childhood, dating stories when courting his wife, and experiences while in training and combat as a U. S. Marine. These stories created a positive tone and engaging story line for readers to follow. They highlight a myriad of emotions and experiences that all led Jason to God in some way. These stories made me stop and think about which experiences are my defining moments in life. How has my life been changed because of my Christian faith?
If anything, I would have liked more personal anecdotes from Jason and less theological history. There were several chapters that felt long-winded and difficult to focus in because of the extended quoting from historical sources and shortness of his personal stories. The historical sources were sometimes boring to read through. (Perhaps this comes from my personal background in Christianity so it often was not new information for me). I wanted more from him and less from other sources. I admit that I skimmed through some of the parts to get back to the main narration of Jason’s story.
Because of his frankness and openness, Jason creates a bond between himself and his readers as the book progresses. He shares many stories about his life and those stories offer his readers a window into his life. We get a glimpse of his struggles and his triumphs, his difficulties and his successes. Jason shares some very personal memories with his audience (I’m thinking especially of his and his wife’s experiences with losing a young baby) that draw out deep emotional responses. That makes Jason a relatable and enjoyable narrator. He doesn’t present himself as perfect. In fact, often he does the complete opposite. He is just like so many of us who are on the path to understanding Christian discipleship–trying to be a positive influence in the world.
It is refreshing to read a book that focuses on the ways that Christian faith can bring meaning and happiness to life. In today’s society, we often see less faith rather than more in the media. We are surrounded by scientific advances that seem to taunt or discard the reality of God. Faith is not always popular or easy. But Jason’s book shows us that the journey is worth it. It is worth going through the self discovery to discover what you believe. It is worth it to study and learn about Christ and come to know Him. It is worth it to attend church and gain a strong faith. It is worth building on that faith for times of difficulty.
This book is replete with inspirational quotes about Jason’s journey and the ways we can begin similar journeys to strengthen our faith. Jason writes quite eloquently about the ways his training in the marines is similar to everyday life. He makes several profound connections between fighting the enemies of our country and of God and between preparation for those battles. Some of the most powerful ones for me were the chapters that discussed the role of parents. It was encouraging to read a book that forwards the importance of the influence of parents in today’s world. Some of my favorite quotes are below:
The title of this book creates a beautiful call to action for readers. A book like needs to empower readers to act–to do something different after they finish reading. I think the title creates that needed empowerment. Jason acknowledges that Christian faith is not always popular today. It will probably be difficult. But it will also be worth it. Will you choose to be “One of the Few?”
For me, this book wasn’t revolutionary or life-changing. Jason didn’t relate anything that blew my mind or made me question my entire worldview. As I have mentioned before, I am LDS or Mormon so I am already Christian. I am building my foundation of faith everyday and finding that my faith can sustain me though intensely difficult times. If anything, I appreciated this book because of it’s simplicity and faith. I’m glad such a book exists and felt my determination to strengthen my faith increase as I read this book.
What books have you read recently that strengthened your faith?