Read the best book last week. Picked it up becasue Stephen King endorsed it. Cheesy, I know, especially as I've probably read all of the King's book as I'm ever gonna read. I don't do horror, you know, and he does. And that's that as they say. But the King can write and he knows a good writer when he reads one. And boy-howdy, does he!
The book- Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski- was a terrific read. Beautifully written, it is the story of 2 families, 2 people. Both ex-pats in Asia. The one family is linguistically and anthropologically oriented; scholars and intellects. The other family is full of card carrying members of the Jesus Freak Society- Missionaries that are relentless in their pursuit of the vision they have to see a whole people group saved for the Glory of God.
The anthropologist gets caught up in a Great Question and sacrifices her life in search of the answer, and then her soul in worship of the answer). The missionary spends his life spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. The anthropologist goes to the Momma of her nemesis, the missionary who offers her hope and the destruction of her god, and asks to be baptised. The Momma refuses because of a perceived personal attack- a grave insult that rocks her world. The anthropologist kills her son. The narrator is Jewish. He writes with complete respect for the Christian missionary vision. That alone is refreshing, as he acknowledges the power, miracles and redemption of the Christian way of life.
In a way the story is a fascinating metaphor for the Jewish/ Christian relationship right now. The Jews have fallen in with secularists. If they were to ally themselves with the Christians, would they be turned away because they don't repent in a manner that satisfies us? (for a great article on how Christians eat their own, read Going to Hell with Ted Haggar). Being a witness for Christ demands complete integrity, complete honesty before Him. No harbored pain or insults, no little splinters that fester and warp our perspective, no 1/2 paths to the Truth, no flirting with the devil by thinking we can slip on the ring of temptation and that we have what it takes to resist a fall. It's got to be all or nothing, if we are going to be taken seriously as people of faith.
Terrific writing, a thought provoking analysis about what Christianity demands, the redemption it can provide and how lost life is without Him.
I have no idea if that was the intent of the author. How I'd love to sit down with him and hear about how this book developed!
But don't take my word for it, read it yourself. It won't disappoint.
One of the best reads of the year!