Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Reason by William Sirls

The new Christian fiction novel, The Reason by William Sirls explores in depth the common human question behind the purpose of suffering and pain, and God's grace.  A dramatic and symbolic storm ushers in a supernatural, impressive event to a small town- a testament to God's real presence. The broken cross serves as  a dramatic and vivid symbol of the world's brokeness- on the individually level and as a society. The quest to repair it, correlates with the pastor's desire to restore or repair the faith of humanity in general, and in particular, his small congregation.  In this everyday world, people for ages have longed for real contact with God- a sign of God's existance or proof.  Even in biblical times, crowds beg Jesus for physical signs- visual, impressive miracles.  A number of parables illustrate the human desire for a real life- physical sign or miracle.  The rich man in the land of the spiritually dead, begged Jesus to send his brothers a sign so that they too could avoid his fate of eternal damnation, and the flock of followers and pharisees asked for miraculous signs, to which Jesus simply replied that the signs we need are in the bible and that physical, and dramatic theatrical signs serve no purpose in bulding true faith.  Jesus' message focuses on faith and grace- which is the theme of this novel.

The story contains an unusual cast of  original ecclectic  characters, which  in of themselves, could constiute their own styories.  James Lindy is the blind minister of the church.  There is the stereotypical young, yet intelligent doctor, who favors scientic reason over faith. In fact depending on faith and grace is a big leap for the doctor as it contradicts her intelliectual background.  Macey- an oncologist, has her path crossed with a young boy with Luekemia. Meanwhile it is no suprise that his mom struggles with the age old complaint and plight of why sometimes God appears not to answer admist our pain.  This is something almost every reader who has experienced a loss, or grief of some sort, can relate to.
For once, a fiction novel explores questions rather than debunking Christian faith.  Everyone at one time another; religious and athiests alike- have questioned, where is God when bad things happen and why does God  seemingly ignore the prayers of good people who are faithful? Even Job's so called friends struggled with the answers to these questions as well as Job himself.  the one thing I found with this book is that it tends to drag on. There are so many sub characters and sub plots that it makes it more the difficult to keep track of everyone. Scenes continually switch between characters and places- in a fast pace yet the story appears to move in slow motion. Additionally, I feel that I would have preferred if the character, Kenneth the carpenter did not actually represent Jesus. Jesus' presence is closely linked with the second coming and for the purpose of this story I feel that it would have been more effective if Kenneth was simply a messenger or angel and not the Lord himself. Furthermore I would have preferred not to have the resurrection of the young boy at his funereal. I feel the story of faith would have been more relevant if the boy simply had died- yet his parents maintained faith regardless. I feel the resurrection element may alienate parents who go through the grief of a child. The story is less plausible and makes it difficult to relate to by the insertion of Jesus as the carpenter and the boy who literally comes back to life at his own funeral. It's just too much of a fairy tale ending
Ironically the author who wrote this  had been  imprisoned for fraud and money laundering. Personally I think this makes him an authority of God's grace, and if anyone can truly write based on faith in God's plan, then William Sirls  has the credentials to do so with authority.  The quest of the characters perhaps mirrors that of the author's in that they are seeking God among pain and grief.  This book is published by Thomas Nelson publishers and I am recieveing this book for the purpose of writing this review.  My opinions are my own. 

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