Monday, September 14, 2015

Seeing Through the Fog


English bookstores are not very common in foreign countries and English, Christian bookstores are non-existent.  This summer I wanted to slowly peruse the shelves of a Christian bookstore to see what was out there.  What's popular?  What's the trend?  Has it changed?  I can honestly say, it was disappointing.  I spent time in several different stores, large chain stores and small private shops.  The books were the same and many were the ones I packed in my suitcase two years ago.  I was hoping to come to Taiwan with a load of new reading material, or at least find enough to make it through the summer.
One book that did catch my eye was Seeing Through the Fog by Ed Dobson.  Ed is the former pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids and often spoke at Mars Hill while we attended.  I'll be honest.  I didn't always agree with his teaching, knew a bit about him outside of church and thought the idea of his book about living a year like Jesus was just a bit weird.  So I guess I just didn't respect him enough to give his writing much of a chance.  
But I picked up this book anyway, because the pickings were just so slim, and started to flip through.  The random page I happened to land upon was thoughts about his time attending Bob Jones University.  I know BJU.  Although I can be a conformist, this is not a school I could have attended.  It's a very rigid place to be.  I had several friends attend this university and they are wonderful people–I love them to pieces.  It just wasn't for me.  So my interest was piqued.  The chapter was good.  I didn't agree with it or disagree, it was just interesting.  I left the shop with the book tucked into my purse and began working through it around the campfire at night or at the picnic table in the morning when I had a few quiet moments this summer.
As I read, I began to respect Dobson.  He explained the why to things I hadn't agreed with before or simply thought were weird.  Dobson has been living with ALS for the past 10 years.  This is much longer than his diagnosis gave him.  He doesn't have anything to loose.  He just says, this was my past and this is my present and I'm doing everything I can to live a worthy life for Jesus now.  
Not everything in the book provided me with a lightbulb moment, but it gave me a lot to think about.  Like the chapter on forgiveness.  In a very radicle way, Dobson picked up the phone and called people he knew he had offended or treated wrongly in the past.  The rawness and guts it took to do that makes me suck in my breath and think twice.  Do I think he did the core of what the Bible teaches?  Absolutely.  Am I ready to do that?  No way.  So in a very simple way, by example, and in very simple, easy to read language, Dobson has challenged me and caused me to take a look deep within myself.  
And that, my friend, is a good book.  

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