Will you be one of the few? Jason Ladd, a former Marine fighter pilot, draws a powerful correlation between our Christian search for truth with his own experience in and out of uniform in his book, One of the Few. This semi-autobiography tells the story of Ladd’s journey to Christ as he grappled with the disparity between his preparedness for the role of soldier and the role of husband and father.
Throughout his novel, Ladd presents his own journey to Christ with uncommon vulnerability and constant clarity. If you love sugar-coated maxims and prosaic rainbows, then this book is not for you.
Like Priscilla Shirer’s Fervent, this isn’t a book that you can (or should) read passively while sipping a mocha in your local Jittery Joes. One of the Few demands consideration even after you’ve put the book away for the night, and it forces you to seek answers to some of life’s hardest questions. If you are ready to dig into the heart of the Christian faith, arm yourself with a pen and highlighter (or a notepad if you purchase the audiobook narrated by Ladd himself) and prepare for a thorough assessment of your worldview.
Similar to the style of Jim Wallace’s Cold-Case Christianity, Ladd builds his case for Christianity by weighing claims from a variety of sources, secular and Christian, and allowing the facts to speak for themselves. As any good teacher would, Ladd also takes the time to define more technical apologetics terms like objective and subjective truth, highlight major worldviews and their corresponding viewpoints, and the like.
Although his intention to persuade you to follow the Christian faith is clear, Ladd doesn’t bother with wandering rhetorical narratives and instead focuses on appeals to Logos and ethos. While this writing strategy doesn’t necessarily cause page-turning excitement, Ladd addresses the need for a “story” through frequent anecdotes from his military career, pausing to explain jargon to civilian readers when necessary. Ladd often leads his chapters with these kinds of narratives, giving them purpose and tying them to the overall theme of the chapter.
Overall, One of the Few is definitely a book worth reading if you want to expand your grasp of the Christian worldview, get a taste of the life of a Marine fighter pilot, and learn firsthand what it looks like to be one of the few.
Imagine yourself as an unbeliever. What about Ladd’s approach do you think would be effective? What do you think would be ineffective?
Why is it helpful to draw analogies when it comes to headier topics like worldview? Did you enjoy the military analogies? Why or why not? Who else uses analogies (or parables) in his teachings? Why were they effective?
Of the big topics Ladd discusses, which one do you struggle with the most? How does understanding our struggles help in defeating them? Do you remember Ladd’s description of the Marine-integrated decision making method? (Hint: OODA Loop)
Jason B. Ladd is an author, Marine, and Iraq War veteran. He has flown as an instructor pilot in both the F/A-18 and the F-16. He and his wife, Karry, are the parents of five children.