This is a book about a pastor of a mega church who has a crisis of faith. When I first bought it, I thought “Oooh – how honest, there’s not many pastors of mega churches who would be brave enough to do that.” However, I think I must have misunderstood. It’s not a biography – it’s a novel i.e.fiction.
I had a bit of a problem with this at first. My own fault I think, having not read the blurb properly. I was a bit shall I /sharn’t I? about reading it at all but it had cost me nearly a tenner so away we go.
I am really glad I made the effort. It is a novel and it is excellent. The pastor in question has a crisis of faith, much of which takes place in the pulpit. The elders ask him to leave (asap) and try and get himself together. He goes to Italy, where has an uncle who is a monk. The uncle leads him through the teaching of St Francis. This challenges everything he has every understood about how he lives out his faith in God, about how all his mind based certainties about how a Christ like life should be lived may not be quite what he thinks they are and how people who he would have judged as deficient in some way may be connecting with God’s will in a way that may be better than his.
Some parts are very moving as he sort of sees Jesus for the first time. HOH found some of the parts based in his home church quite disturbing, presenting, as they do, people jockeying for position in his absence.
Of course, this is a novel and some bits can seems a bit too good to be true. Who has a wise monk-uncle living in the most beautiful parts of Italy? (Well I suppose, someone must have – just no-one I have ever heard of) The good people are very good and the bad people are – well – disappointing. However, it is writing with spiritual impact I think. It becomes clear fairly early on that some of the things the pastor has learnt have also affected the writer. In fact, the last part of the book contains instruction on how to take these thoughts further, which is very useful. I enjoyed it a lot and learnt a lot. It has also managed to ask me some important questions about my Christianity. Highly recommended by er…me