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Unexpected Grace – Stories of Faith, Science, and Altruism

Templeton Foundation Press
RRP: $34.95

Unexpected Grace is one of the most unusual books I have read and certainly unexpected. Bill Kramer seeks to blur the boundaries between faith and science and does so in a somewhat surprising manner.

I would encourage readers to begin this one at the beginning, rather than jumping in at another section as I did, as each section connects to the one before and goes off in a different direction.

Kramer starts by telling the story of what happens to a small group of people and a church in downtown Manhattan on 11 September 2001.  This raw telling of how this small group grows into a large one that brings life and love amongst devastating death is powerful and very personal.

It is a poignant reminder of how love shared unconditionally can bring hope to even the darkest of times.

The following three sections tell of three different projects and groups of researchers, all who are trying to investigate scientifically links between different groups of people and how or if they will show compassion towards others.

Some of the results are surprising, some aren’t.

What interested me more was the scientists’ methodology and the desire to even scientifically examine concepts of love, altruism and compassion.

I found Unexpected Grace easy to read and even though I have a science background, found not too much scientific jargon.

This is more a collection of stories about people than science. At times we are provided with some interesting glimpses into the personal motivations of the scientists that led them to their studies.

This is a book that needs to be read over time to give space for ‘mulling over’.

If you have a curious mind I would recommend Unexpected Grace . It makes a fascinating read.

Reviewed by Mel Perkins a student at Trinity Theological College in Brisbane.