Thursday, July 21, 2016

Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage --A Review

When Matt Archbold announced he'd written a book called Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage, I pre-ordered a copy.  
When the book arrived, I started it and wept after the first chapter.

These days, when the news gives us a near constant stream of how humanity fails to live out the beauty of God's plan for each of us, this profile of eighteen heroic men and women of all walks of life, is like a tall deeply iced glass of your favorite beverage on a summer evening. They are reminders that even in the midst of suffering, sin and death, God wants to reveal His mercy, His healing, His love, His generosity, His goodness through our lives.

All it took from them, was their fiat, their "yes" to God's will.

Owing to life, I put the book down and when I went back to my dresser, I couldn't find it.  After cleaning up my own room (and yes, my kids enjoyed me having to be more organized, they got in their digs), I found it and thought I would reward myself by reading the next chapter.  I'd thought I'd read some of it each night for a few days, but found myself racing through the chapters, enjoying each story like a chocolate truffle.  For me, good books, like good chocolates, can't be paced. That plan never happens (for chocolates or books).  I found I stayed up late and got up early to enjoy more of the stories.

I took it in the car and read while I waited for my daughter to come out from work, and read it all day in between tasks.  Finally, after dinner, I declared it was reading time and didn't stop until I ran through the final story.  I would recommend using these stories to buttress discussions in a catechism or prayer group, as the stories reveal courage, attentiveness to God's voice, obedience, forbearance, mercy and forgiveness.  

There are still six more weeks of summer, and this is a nice way to give yourself a little taste of luminous lives.  Matt's style of writing makes for an easy read without being simple in terms of content.  Every once in a while, Matthew gives you one of those gem moments in the telling of the story: "How could someone who calls themselves a Christian be more afraid of what other people think than what God thinks?" or "I've known  the Lord for thirty years," "I cannot deny the Lord." As a reader, you find yourself taking a deep breath, drawing back in awe as God's grace becomes tangible in the actions and words of these eighteen people. 

These men and women didn't set out to be steel, or to be heroes or to become martyrs or to become mothers. This is a book of luminous mysteries, lives made miraculous by the individuals recognizing, God called them to act, and their acting. These tangible examples from our own century, from our own lifetime refresh the spirit even as they reveal what Matthew said in his introduction, "The way of the cross is unavoidably uphill."  They also remind us, when we cooperate with God's will, we will become like gold, tested in fire.   All anyone will be able to see, is God's face.

Order, read and leave a review. These stories should be shared.    P.S. Thank you Matt.   Nice work!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!