Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the heavenly man

I succumbed to temptation a few weeks ago and finally bought myself a copy of this book - The Heavenly Man. Written with Paul Hattaway, this is a memoir-type book about Brother Yun, one of the Chinese house church leaders who is now living in exile from China. As it turns out, the urge to spend money this time wasn't so much temptation as a jolly good idea.

Several people had recommended the book to me before, and it seems like everyone has read it. I was therefore a bit dubious about reading it, because I thought it might be a Purpose Driven Life-type book - which was an okay book, and the forty days thing was fantastic for our church, but the book itself didn't grab me as that amazingly helpful personally. Anyway, I'm digressing (as usual). The Heavenly Man is in no way a fashionable but vacuous Christian read. Be prepared, if you read this, to really want to change your life. So it wasn't written by a Tolstoy or a Rushdie. It doesn't need to be because the story is so amazing. I'm not going to go into the details because that would ruin it for you, but this Brother Yun is one impressive person, and his story of the Chinese church is amazing, encouraging and humbling. His personal sufferings for the faith are heroic, and he doesn't hold back an opinion on how the western churches are tending these days. But at the same time, I did not come out of this book feeling wicked and lukewarm. Instead, I almost wanted to be persecuted so I could have a chance to stand up for God. Is that masochistic? Maybe I should rephrase. I came out of this book excited, because God really does exist, and because I have a chance every day to represent God in a hostile world. A Big but exciting responsibility. So far I doubt I've lived up to it but this is one of those few books that I could actually say has changed my life, and not feel corny saying it. Highly recommended.


LEstes65 said...

Wow. Honestly, I rarely want to run out to grab a book that anyone blogs about. But this one? I'm going to get. I think I need to focus on a larger goal than just surviving each day. Thanks for the inspiring review!

Trish Ryan said...

My church read this during Lent three years ago...I'm chagrined to say that I skipped it. I was new to faith, and was not in the mood for "You too can become a martyr" Christianity. (I was in line for the "nice husband, two kids and a house in the suburbs" Christianity, frustrated that that line didn't seem to have a book...)

Anyway, your post challenges me to go back and read this, although I'm not sure I'm brave enough. Thanks for the nudge, though. I think they call this "iron sharpening iron" :)