Thursday, August 18, 2011
Books I've Read - Safely Home
By Randy Alcorn
We all hear about China in the news a lot. A new superpower coming into force. The next economic giant in this world. This book brings a bit of the side of China we don't like to talk about. The side the censors Google and persecutes those who won't walk the state declared line. I think Alcorn got to the heart of a lot of what goes on. We in the West adore our consumerist, materialistic idols and we are willing to overlook a lot of wrong in a those that can meet our idolatrous needs. China provides us with the goods that we desire and at prices that we can't turn down, so we turn a bit of a blind eye to the evils of this country.
This book focuses in the story of one man and his family who are repressed and persecuted for believing something the Chinese government does not agree with, and also points to the fact that we do have the some of the same in our culture as well. Although it may not be as obvious (and certainly isn't as extreme as the example is this story), there still is an element in which the governments of our countries do not allow for large deviations from the official 'story' of our culture.
Although this book was largely about the persecution of Christians in China, it raised a lot of interesting questions for me in terms of the balance between governments keeping order and the freedom of individuals. The example in the book was clearly an abuse of authority and hatred of Christian ideals, but there are certainly times when things are not so clearly cut. Obviously the government needs to have power so that it can keep the peace and maintain order in society, but how far should those powers go? In this book Alcorn has a story of how discrimination and harassment laws were used by one of the characters to fire someone for what he believed and said. Is that within the realm of maintaining order? Is there a moral difference (beside the 'magnitude of response') between someone being fired for what they believe and someone being jailed and abused for it? When has the government crossed the line? I found it interesting that a book about Christian persecution also brings up a lot of political and cultural theory.
I enjoyed the story in this book and found it challenging to my own faith. How strong is it? Do I really desire God's word as eagerly as many in that book did? Would I maintain what I believe in the face of such strong opposition? All in all I found that this book was a well done story that used story telling to leave me with a lot to chew on. It was a good read.
'"Wife and husband must be more than lovers. Must be comrades, soldiers fighting side by side for same great cause. Ming's mother say, 'Wife and husband should not only lie down face-to-face, but stand up shoulder to shoulder.' They must face together the worst Mogui can do to them. And when they draw strength of Yesu, he bind them together"