Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 3: Sigmund Brouwer's Broken Angel

Yes, this is Day 3, and yes, I skipped Day 2. Lots and lots of real life yesterday.

So. Put it all together and ...

... you get a very decently entertaining read, in my opinion.

Part of it for me, as I’ve already mentioned, is that I really enjoy Brouwer’s style. Rich, flowing, contemplative without turning purple. I found Caitlyn well-drawn and appealing, and her two supporting characters as well; the really bad dude was appropriately creepy. The pacing was smooth, and the author had some nice surprises on who was "in" and who wasn't. The ending leaves you wanting more—MUCH more—and I’ve read elsewhere on the tour that Brouwer has a sequel in the works.

The thing that really caught me, however, was the interwoven commentary on Christians and political involvement. I come from Evangelical American stock, where it’s a given that you’ll be vocal about political issues and that you’ll have proper Opinions, but I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with the methods that the “religious right” have used to try to influence our government and society. It isn’t that I think we should be silent—I’m just not sure that political lobbying accomplishes as much as we hope. It certainly doesn’t change the hearts of people.

On the other hand, the Bible does say that the purpose of government is to “bear the sword,” to be “a terror” to evildoers and not to the good. This was written in a time when, as someone else pointed out, Christians were under the rule of a civil government far more decadent and less respectful of life than ours. And the apostle Paul availed himself of the legal system of the time, but he never advocated the overthrow of Rome.

So, what does this mean? Do Christians never seek political office? Are we at least discouraged, if not forbidden, to even be involved in the military, as some Christian denominations have suggested? (I do find it interesting that Jesus told Roman soldiers who listened to his teachings to be content with their wages, NOT to leave the service of Rome!)

I don’t think there are any easy, pat answers. I personally have great respect for groups such as the Amish who believe in non-resistance, but my own husband is in the military, and hey, if someone came into my house threatening my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to find the nearest heavy object (or gun, yes, we own a couple) and let fly on the attacker! And I’m a firm believer in the truth that, as Winston Churchill said, “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

The story-of-my-heart wrestles with these questions as well. Where do those with great spiritual influence fit in the scheme of visible political influence? When should they step back and let the winds of culture sweep past, and when is it time to step up and speak out?

The answer may be different for each of us.

So—I realize that this is probably not much of a review, or at least not the kind I usually do. I did have a few nitpicks and questions about how the story was laid out, but when does that not happen? And overall, this was a great read. I’m extremely happy to see some solid adult spec fiction coming out!

Please refer back to Monday's post for the list of other participants.

3 comments:

  1. Amen to the point about adult spec fiction, Shannon, though I suppose it could be argued that since Caitlyn is a young girl, it's really YA.

    Thankfully I've seen it shelved with the adult books, so I guess the marketing folks stepped away from that idea.

    Becky

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  2. I thought the content might be a bit too mature for it to be slotted as YA, but now that you mention it ... it certainly is "cleaner" than much ABA YA fare, though!

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  3. Hello Shannon,

    thanks for a thoughtful review!

    Sigmund

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