Friday, November 28, 2008

So what have you been reading in November?

While I am working on a couple of books right now, I only finished one book this month:

Silence by Shusaku Endo. Probably one of the most powerful and yet disturbing novels that I have read in a long time. Silence tells the story of a Portuguese priest who goes to Japan at the height of the brutal persecution of Christians that took place there in the early 16th century. He and another colleague travel to Japan to discover whether reports that one of their mentors has apostatized are true. It isn't long before they, too, are captured and pressured to recant their faith. When they refuse, they witness Japanese Christians being killed in response. The main character struggles with the temptation to recant to stop the killing of others on his behalf, wrestles with whether to forgive those who do renounce their faith, wonders if he can really endure the dreadful tortures that are afflicted on his fellow believers and can he be forgiven if he fails to endure. In addition, he meets his mentor whom he was sent to investigate, who tells him that Christianity (as they understand it) can never survive in Japan, that the Japanese Christians are worshipping a different God than the one that the missionaries preached and that it is useless to ask them to die for a faith that isn't really real.

In short, it is an insightful yet disturbing view into the heart and mind of those tempted to give up their faith in the midst of suffering, threats, betrayal, doubt, and the seeming silence of God (hence the title of the book). While we are unlikely to sell this novel at The Voice of the Martyrs, I would recommend it nevertheless.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

wow. Sounds like a great book-- I'll keep an eye out for it.

I'm reading "Discipling Nations" by Darrow Miller and about to start "The Sickness Unto Death" by Kirkegaard. I just finished "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson and started "Learning to Pray through the Psalms" by James Sire so I can learn how to pray through the Psalms.