In the past month, I’ve read two worthwhile, engaging books. Here’s a quick rundown of each:
THE PROS: Out of a Far Country
- For busy moms like myself, it’s so nice to find this sort of book–compelling and a quick read! The subtitle gives the ending away, but the journey is engaging enough that you will keep turning the pages.
- Out of a Far Country gave me more insight and understanding for three types of people: (1) those with same-sex attractions, (2) those with addictions, and (3) those who have prodigal children (of any age).
- Both writers’ spiritual journey is clothed in Scripture, consequently making it an uplifting book.
THE CONS: Out of a Far Country
- Although clothed with Spiritual truths and two conversion accounts, Out of a Far Country does not (according to my recollection–the book is now back at the library) clearly outline the Gospel. It would be nice to see a straightforward presentation of the Gospel, at least in the appendix.
- I noticed some online comments that criticized Yuan for being too explicit about his same-sex background and relationships. Depending on the potential reader, this might be fair warning if that reader is super sensitive to objectionable material. I, however, thought it was well done–Yuan gave us just enough description of his background to gain a sensitive understanding to his and others’ situation.
- Rosaria (yes, I’m using her first name because of the sort of relationship she forms with the reader) comes from a radical, feminist, liberal, lesbian, academic, hippy-like background. Rosaria helps the reader understand why her pre-conversion life makes sense to someone who doesn’t truly know Christ, or to someone who has seen a very poor representation of Christ.
- I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. Within one chapter, I almost quit reading the library version because I wanted my own version to annotate. Rosaria gives so many axioms that would be great to chew on with a small group or book club. In particular, she lovingly exposes many of the well-intentioned turn-offs that occur in the evangelical movement, making this a great tool to help Christians truly understand the community at large.
- As the title indicates, Rosaria was an English professor, so as you can probably guess, it’s extremely well written.
- You can spend as little or as much time as you want on this book. In the midst of Rosaria’s story, she provides much reasoning, Scripture, and doctrine to support her viewpoints. You can mull over these, or you can just keep reading to get the main gist of her story.
- Her last chapter about her current life was where she spoke about her foster care and adoption ministry was extremely moving. I loved her mission, and it empowered me even more to want to foster and/or adopt as soon as we are able.
- Some readers who enjoy more light reading may find this book difficult to navigate. Rosaria does not make claims without backing them up, and she often uses complex language (she is an English professor!) to do so. Some readers may find this to be too intellectual.
- She becomes a member of the Reformed Presbyterian denomination (still Christianity, folks–not a different religion), and consequently spends a lot of time focusing on its specific theology. For some readers this may seem unrelated, but this is part of her journey, so I understand why she puts a focus here. I would confess that it’s not my favorite part of the book, either.