Book Reviews

A River Runs Through It

Norman MacLean

“Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, “Norman, you like to write stories.” And I said “Yes, I do.” Then he said, “Someday, when you’re ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why.”

These are the poignant, mysterious lines opening Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It (1992, PG). I missed this movie when it first came out and just saw it recently on video. It was a garage sale cast-off. My neighbor couldn’t sell it and gave it to me. I watched it, didn’t like it, and promptly consigned A River to dust bunny exile until another friend suggested I check out the soundtrack. I did. Something unexpected happened while listening to Mark Isham’s Academy-Award nominated score over and over again: I began to understand the movie’s unspoken undercurrents and emotion. Intrigued by its hauntingly beautiful music, I decided to give A River another go. I’m glad I did.

Set in the early 20th century in Missoula, Montana, this enigmatic story centers around brothers Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul (Brad Pitt) Maclean, two sons of a Scottish Presbyterian minister played with consummate skill by Tom Skerritt. The quintessential big brother, Norman is reserved, scholarly and sensitive. Younger sibling Paul(ie) is rebellious, loquacious, a hard drinker, gambler, and brawler. Neither is an entirely agreeable character, neither is entirely disagreeable. Like most real people, these brothers have unique strengths and weaknesses and try to help each other through life without fully understanding who the other person truly is.

While I still don’t “like” A River Runs Through It in the sense that it’s an upbeat, easy-to-watch, “feel good” fluff piece.  It’s not.  Instead, the movie offers a rare blend of affection, distance, dimension, beauty, insight and heartbreak that’s both mysterious and captivating. At times the river seemingly embodies the Maclean family history: placid and serene on the surface, with occasional ripples and swells suggesting deep water or dangerous rapids ahead.

Based on a novella by author Norman Maclean, through whose eyes the story is told, the expansive, lyrical screenplay brings a literary quality to the screen that’s beautiful and moving. Combined with Academy-Award winning cinematography, solid performances all-around, and a story that’s alternately evocative, taciturn, lively, and tragic, A River Runs Through It represents a formidable cinematic achievement of depth, perception, and substance.

In the opening sequences, both young boys and father are united in their love for nature, the Big Blackfoot River and fly-fishing. Rev. Maclean teaches his boys the fine art of casting to a four-count rhythm cadenced by a metronome. Along the river they share experiences, casting techniques, stunning scenery, stories and life. Fishing scenes throughout the film create the sense that each man is at peace with himself and each other at the river while remaining distinctly separate and alone, as does the whole family in this elegant, elegiac story.

Much of the power of this story is gained from its subtlety, which is created and sustained by the narration and masterful direction of Robert Redford. Rather than resorting to spectacular special effects, mind-numbing dialogue or the gratuitous sex and violence so commonly employed by lesser storytellers with thinner plots, A River expects audiences to pick up on various cues and clues peppered throughout the screenplay with just enough seasoning to maintain full flavor. A refreshing change from the typical bash-you-over-the-head-with-its-point kind of movie, A River relies on nuance and subtlety to convey its message.

Some viewers – perhaps the less literary among us – have tagged this movie “boring.” So did I, until I gave it a second chance. The story moves at a graceful pace while requiring viewers to engage their minds and hearts to follow a film that ultimately offers more questions than answers.

Underlying themes may include a covert sibling rivalry between Norman and Paul. It breaks into the open just once – in a kitchen fist fight – but the undercurrents in tone, gesture, facial features and other non-verbals continue throughout the film. The movie obliquely hints at a dichotomy between Paulie “the tough guy” whose ready grin and lackadaisical, lassie-faire attitude belie an inner insecurity and perhaps some envy toward his “Rock of Gibraltar,” respectable older brother. Note Paulie’s reaction to Norman’s announcement regarding the offer of a professorship at a prestigious university in Chicago. Paulie doesn’t respond verbally, but his face and eyes speak volumes. This is coupled with Paulie’s subsequent decline of Norman’s invitation to join him and his future bride, Jessie, in leaving Montana to write for a Chicago newspaper.

“Come with us” Norman urges. “Oh, “I’ll never leave Montana, brother,” Paulie replies, chewing his lip before plunging back into the river with his rod. From the way the line is delivered and Norman’s reaction, you’re not sure if it’s a rebuke, a prophecy, or an eulogy. Whatever it is, the assertion underscores Paulie’s continuing struggle to find his own way in life outside of his big brother’s shadow. He then determinedly skims down the rapids to land an “unbelievable” fish. Narrates Redford, “At that moment I knew, surely and clearly, that I was witnessing perfection.”

“You are a fine fisherman!” proclaims Rev. Maclean as “mother’s pictures” are snapped by Norman.

“My brother stood before us, not on a bank of the Big Blackfoot River, but suspended above the earth, free from all its laws, like a work of art. And I knew, just as surely and clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last.”

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

Norman’s premonition proves true in the movie’s compelling closing scenes. The Missoula police inform Norman that his brother has been found dead, “beaten to death by the butt of a revolver.” We’re not told exactly how or why this happened, but gather that Paul’s murder is connected to his gambling debts and profligate lifestyle.

The impact on the family is quietly immense. Echoing themes throughout the movie, family members are both together and alone in their grief at the same time. Visibly shaken, his mother wordlessly retires upstairs. “Is there anything else you can tell me?” Rev. Maclean quietly asks.

“Nearly all of the bones in his hand were broken” replies Norman grimly, his stoic monotone belying a face etched with pain, shock, and traces of guilt.

Pause. His father, still in his bathrobe, stands and gently asks, “Which hand?”

“His right hand.”

As has occurred before in this under-stated film, the obvious is left unsaid: Paul’s right hand was his fly-fishing casting hand. We get the impression that Norman spends the rest of his days struggling with his brother’s untimely death as well as the bigger question: Who was this brother of mine?

“Maybe all I really knew about Paul is that he was a fine fisherman” Redford narrates. “`You know more than that’,” my father said. ‘He was beautiful.’ And that was the last time we ever spoke of my brother’s death.”

Only at the end does it become clear that Paul is meant to be a beautiful mystery. He’s an enigma to viewers because Norman can’t understand him any better than we can. Shortly before his own death, Rev. Maclean preaches a sermon that sums up the meaning of the film: “It is those we love and should know who elude us. But we can still love them. We can love completely, without complete understanding.”

A River isn’t for everyone. I found the profanity and alcoholic consumption excessive and some minor scenes objectionable but not unreasonable given the subject and its characters. It’s not an “easy” movie to watch in the sense that you can allow your mind to wander and still pick up on the visual and non-verbal clues concealed within its gentle subtext. This movie takes some attentive digging. But for those who appreciate a lavishly photographed, skillfully sequenced, superbly acted and subtlely nuanced study of family life and relationships, A River Runs Through It is one of the finest.

“I am haunted by waters” is the final emotion-laden line of this remarkable movie. An old man who’s out-lived nearly everyone he loved, Norman once again stands solo in the river with his fly-fishing rod and his memories. “Alone in the half-light of the canyon with the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. … Eventually, all things merge into one. And a river runs through it. I am haunted by waters.” Bring Kleenex.

***

Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul

By John & Stasi Eldredge

For anyone who’s tired of the worn-out, anemic approach to femininity and what it means to be a Christian woman, Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul (Nelson Books, 2005) is a breath of fresh air.  John and Stasi Eldredge’s authentic, transparent writing style is literate, engaging, and lively, encouraging women to connect with their deepest desires:  to be romanced, to play a role in her own adventure and to display beauty.

Captivating is an intelligent, eloquent articulation of what many Christian women have felt for a long time: a yearning to be understood, nurtured, and valued  beyond the “infamous icon” of the last 21 verses in the final chapter of Proverbs.

Drawing on popular films and songs as well as Scripture to illustrate their theme, the Eldredges warn that most women tend to become either controlling or needy. Godly women, in contrast, should see God as the ultimate lover, and look to Eve as our model.

Oddly, some criticism has been levelled against this book as containing “poor theology” or an “inadequate view of God.”  Interestingly, this sneering cynicism seems to come most often from those who’ve completely overlooked the book’s subtitle.  (Captivating isn’t intended as–nor does it pretend or presume to be–a  theological treatise or a “Bible study. ” Those who miss this miss the point. )

For any woman willing and ready to shed the stifling, soul-stunting strait jacket of “How To” women’s ministry to recover her heart, the prize of the One who made her, this book is a great place to start.  Five stars.

For a related topic, click on:

https://hevencense.wordpress.com/womens-ministry/nuggets-and-nudges/

or

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/giftedforleadership/2007/08/why_i_dont_do_womens

_ministry.html  and

***

Update: 11/30/07

Not every book will speak to every reader, and Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul is no exception.
Captivating probably won’t speak to readers who equate “biblical” with banal, myopic, strait-jacketed and rigid.  It won’t resonate with supercilious pseudo-scholars unable or unwilling to grasp basic elements of good writing or storytelling, such as the use of the inverted pyramid style or personal anecdotes to illustrate or amplify salient points.  It won’t speak to the One Size Fits All approach to “women’s ministries” or “godly Christian woman” that ostracizes, villifies and maligns any who dare “color outside the lines” or yearn for something deeper, richer, or closer to the heart of God.
It probably won’t say much to defensive, sanctimonious, narrow-minded Torquemadas who perceive Their View on the topic as exclusively God-breathed and dub anything else as suspect and destined for the stake.  (These mentalities perhaps unwittingly personify some of the Eldredge’s secondary themes.)

In terms of criticism, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  Since this is my blog, I have my own and I disagree with much of the fire that Captivating has drawn.  Among the most ferocious, oddly enough, is Captivating’s use of personal anecdotes and movie themes or song lyrics.

This criticism is easily deflected and deflated if one understands that Stasi Eldredge uses her own life experience to illustrate and expound upon the tri-fold theme of the book.  I’ve read the book thru twice, as has my husband and several friends, all from different denominational backgrounds.  We all see the same thing: no where does Stasi state or imply that her troubled past is “normative” for others.  Thus, this criticsm is both unfounded and silly.  It’s also a sterling example of how someone can read a book without “getting it.”

Regarding the Eldredge use of movies, Captivating never elevates the message of any movies cited to the level of Holy Writ. The basic themes and titles, such as Nathaniel’s words to Cora in “The Last of the Mohicans” cited on p. 8, are clearly used as illustrations from a medium with which most readers are familiar and thereby most likely to connect.

Another criticism levelled against this book concerns the Eldredge’s use of the Song of Songs (Solomon).  Some have alleged that Captivating takes S of S “out of context,” insisting that it only and solely refers to Solomon and his Shulamite bride.  In truth, the traditional rabbinical view of the Song is that it depicts God’s love for Israel, his wife. God’s courtship of Israel from the time she left Egypt is a theme running through the Bible. Christian commentators have long interpreted the Song of Songs as a picture of the Church as the Bride of Christ. God loves His only Son and by the Holy Spirit He has called out and prepared for Jesus a beautiful, virgin bride. Captivating is well within the pale of biblical orthodoxy in its use of Song of Songs.  Those who maintain otherwise might profit from a refresher course in Poetic Literature 101.

Again, let me reiterate that Captivating won’t speak to everyone.   I accept that.  What I don’t accept is the type of response that one woman shared when informing me that she “doesn’t agree with the book’s premise.”  When I asked, “What is the book’s premise?” she couldn’t articulate a single point, and eventually admitted that she’d never made it past the first chapter!  (So much for an informed opinion!)

From this example and others, my point in posting this update is this:

I don’t think it’s fair that those who disagree with or misconstrue Captivating bash it on the basis of their inability or unwillingness to grasp basic journalism and literary technique or Captivating’s subtitle: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul.  Read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions.  For those willing to honestly look for and listen to that still, small Voice with an open and contrite heart, you will surely find and hear Him within the pages of Captivating.

***

The Dream Giver

By Bruce Wilkinson.

Meet Ordinary, a Nobody who leaves the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream. Once the Dream Giver convinces him to escape his Comfort Zone, Ordinary begins the journey of his life — overcoming Border Bullies, navigating the Wasteland, and battling the fierce Giants in the Land. This modern-day parable will get you started on your own daring adventure with God.

Secrets of the Vine

By Bruce Wilkinson.

Explore John 15 and learn how Jesus is the Vine of life as well as four levels of “fruit bearing” (doing the good work of God).  Opens readers’ eyes to the Lord’s hand in their lives and uncovers surprising insights that will point them to a new path of consequence for God’s glory.

When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

By John Ortberg

The material rewards of “winning” at life’s game can be thrilling, but do they last?  Eventually everything goes back into the box, and what ultimately matters is whether we’ve played according to God’s rules.  In his witty, winsome tome, John Ortberg shows us how.

***

Waking the Dead

By John Eldredge

I don’t make a habit of commenting on book reviews posted elsewhere.  However, when another review significantly misses the point and misrepresents a book I’ve read, I feel compelled to respond.  John Zxerce’s “Misleading the Living,” a review of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, is a case in point. (To read the review in its original context, click here.

While Zxerce’s review seems sincere and well-intentioned, it’s also an erroneous, inaccurate and error-strewn misrepresentation of the “premise,” theme, and content of Waking the Dead.  Why?  For starters, Zxerce builds his review on flawed foundation and a defective syllogism.  (Also note that Zxerce repeatedly misspells “Eldredge” in his review.  If the reviewer can’t even get the author’s name correct, what else did he miss?)

Zxerce begins by stating. “… before I critique his (Eldredge’s) conclusion, let me first convey his approach.”  I contend that Zxerce’s conveyance of Eldredge’s “approach” is about as accurate as a world map from the Flat Earth Society.

Zxerce begins his summary by suggesting that the “starting and presumed premise” of Waking is “God wants us to be happy.” This sounds simple enough, except for one thing: that’s not what the book says.  This assertion indicates a misreading, misapprehension, or a misconstruction of the text, maybe all of the above.

Waking doesn’t start, continue, focus, or conclude with “God wants us to be happy.”  Instead, Waking the Dead is based on two key Scriptures, one from the Old Testament and one from the New: Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for its is the wellspring of life”, and John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV).

Hearts vs. Happiness: The Difference is Key

Even a cursory reading of Part One, Seeing Our Way Clearly (p. 1, 2), indicates that Waking is not about our “happiness,” as Zxerce maintains, but rather, the care and condition of our hearts, the core or “inner essence” of the One who made us.  Let me show you how this unfolds within the pages of Waking:

The book is divided into main four parts: Seeing Our Way Clearly, The Ransomed Heart, The Four Streams, and The Way of the Heart.  Chapters in Part One includes Arm Yourselves, The Eyes of the Heart, and The Heart of All Things.  Part Two includes Ransomed and Restored and The Glory Hidden in Your Heart. Chapters in Part 3: Walking with God, Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel, Deep Restoration, Spiritual Warfare: Fighting for Your Heart, and Setting Hearts Free: Integrating the Four Streams.  Chapters eleven and twelve of Part 4 are: Fellowships of the Heart and Like the Treasures of the Kingdom.

The main text of the book concludes on page 221.  It is followed by a Daily Prayer for Freedom (pages 223-226), Acknowledgements (p. 227), an excerpt from The Journey of Desire (p. 228-243), and About the Author (p. 244).

Clues

Besides missing the foundational concepts and theme of the book, Zxerce’s review stumbles badly in support for its summary points.  Although the reviewer claims to use “Eldredge’s words” and “direct quote(s) from the book” (see above), Zxerce doesn’t cite any and fails to provide any actual quotes or even page numbers to bolster his syllogism.  This should be a clue.

For example, see point #3 in Misleading the Living: “Therefore, we are either blowing it or God is. (Eldridge’s words).” The reviewer claims these are Eldredge’s words.  They aren’t.  Nor are they an accurate representation of the concepts in question.  The context Zxerce seems to be referring to is also misconstrued and misrepresented.  (He doesn’t actually cite a specific page and doesn’t offer a verbatim quote, but is apparently referencing a page or two in the first chapter.)

Zxerce seems to refer to a paragraph on page 9 which appears in the context of vanishing hope, and feelings of “despair, betrayal, abandonment by God” (see p. 7) and the struggles with life’s inexplicable difficulties and tragedies.  Contrary to what Zxerce claims, what Eldredge actually says is this (remember, context is key):

”Has God abandoned us?  Did we not pray enough?  Is this just something we accept as “part of life,” suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts?  After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good.  I know, I know – we’ve been told that we matter to God.  And part of us partly believes it.  But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well…

Either (a) we’re blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us.  Or some combination of both, which is where most people land.  Think about it.  Isn’t this where you land, with all the things that haven’t gone the way you’d hoped and wanted?  Isn’t it some version of “I’m blowing it”?  In that it’s your fault, you could have done better, you could have been braver or wise or more beautiful or something?  Or “God is holding out on me,” in that you know he could come through, but he hasn’t come through – and what are you to make of that?

This is The Big Question, by the way, the one every philosophy and religion and denominational take on Christianity has been trying to nail down since the dawn of time.  What is really going on here?” (emphasis in original)

Note the disconnect between what the actual text says and where it points and how Zxerce summarizes it in his “critique.”

Continuing on…

Conspicuous by its absence in this summary, especially in points 4 and 5, are the vital “connecting points” Eldredge makes between suffering and adversity and God’s glory.  Citing a quote from Saint Irenaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive” (p. 10), Eldredge says:

You’re kidding me.  Really? I mean, is that what you’ve been told?  That the purpose of God – the very thing he’s staked his reputation on – is your coming fully alive?  (Notice how Zxerce’s summary convolutes and misapprehends this crucial question.)  “Huh?  Well, that’s a different take on things.  It made me wonder, What are God’s intentions toward me?  What is it I’ve come to believe about that? Yes, we’ve been told any number of times that God does care, and there are some pretty glowing promises given to us in Scripture along those lines.  But on the other hand, we have the days of our lives, and they have a way of casting a rather long shadow over our hearts when it comes to God’s intentions toward us in particular.  I read the quote again, “The glory of God is many fully alive,” and something began to stir in me.  Could it be?” (p. 10, emphasis in original.)

Confused and Un-coupled?

Again, notice how the “Misleading” review warps and distorts the actual text, as well as the underlying theme.

Among other blunders, Zxerce repeatedly confuses a heart “fully alive” with “happiness” – a coupling never made in Waking.  If this is how Zxerce perceived the main theme of Waking, it’s no wonder he didn’t get the book.  (BTW, if a heart “fully alive” ISN’T the glory of God, then what is a heart “fully dead”?)

In point of fact, Eldredge cites John 10:10, 6:48, 7:30, Proverbs 4:23, Ps. 16:11, John 1:4, 5:40, Acts 5:20, Ps. 27:13, etc. to support the main theme of Waking, which is: Jesus Christ came to give us life (p. 10, emphasis in original.).  Eldredge elaborates, saying Jesus’ offer isn’t just

“an offer to us only in some distant future after we’ve slogged our way through our days here on earth.  He talks about a life available to us in this age,… Our present life and the next.  When we hear the words eternal life, most of us tend to interpret that as `a life that waits for us in eternity.’  But eternal means `unending,’ not ‘later.’  The Scriptures use the term to mean we can never lose it.  It’s a life that can’t be taken from us.  The offer is life, and that life starts now.”  (p. 12, emphasis in original.)

Missing the Boat

In his sixth point Zxerce claims another “direct quote from the book”: “God’s happiness and my happiness are tied together.”  Sounds are little weird, doesn’t it?  Maybe so, but again, that’s NOT what Eldredge says.  Eldredge’s actual words aren’t a declarative statement, but an interrogatory.  This is key.  In context, the passage referenced reads like this:

The glory of God is man fully alive?  Now? Hope unbidden rose at the thought that God’s intentions toward me might be better than I’d thought.  His happiness and my happiness are tied together?  My coming fully alive is what he’s committed to?  That’s the offer of Christianity?  Wow!  I mean, it would make no small difference if we knew – and I mean really knew – that down-deep-in-your-toes kind of knowing that our lives and God’s glory are bound together.  Things would start looking up.  It would feel promising, like making friends on the first day of school with the biggest kid in class.

The offer is life.  Make no mistake about that.  So then… where is that life?  Why is it so rare?”  (p. 12, emphasis in original.)

Again, context is king.  Notice how Zxerce misses the boat on this, too.

In addition to this reviewer’s flawed and inaccurate rendering of key sections, Zxerce misses another major theme introduced on page 13: We are at War.  Citing the first half of John 10:10, Eldredge explains:

“Have you ever wondered why Jesus married those two statements?  Did you even know he spoke them at the same time?… God intends life for you.  But right now that life is opposed.  It doesn’t just roll in on a tray.  There is a thief.  He comes to steal and kill and destroy.  In other words, yes, the offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s an Enemy in your life with a different agenda.” (p.13, emphasis in original.)

The “we are at war” theme is developed further throughout the remainder of the book.  How Zxerce can claim to have read “the first chapter” and categorize the rest of Waking as “footnotes to this primary chapter” is mystifying.  How he can dismiss the crucial foundational elements in pages 12 – 18 is not only stunning, but startling.  The result is a fallacious, nefarious rendering of the text that misses the point about as wide as the Grand Canyon.

A House of Cards

The rest of Zxerce’s review follows from point #7: “Therefore, ‘God’s committed to my happiness’. (Another quote)”  Zxerce’s preceding points are linked to this point (notice the use of the connector, “therefore,” in points 3 and 7), and so is the remainder of his summary.  One minor detail: Eldredge never says or implies ‘God’s committed to my happiness’.  What he does say is: “God intends life for you” (p. 13), “The offer is life, and that life starts now” (p. 12), “His (God’s) happiness and my happiness are tied together?  My coming fully alive is what he’s committed to?” (p. 12), and oh yes, here it is again: “The glory of God is man fully alive” (p.10).

How many times does Eldredge have to say it?  It’s not like he’s hiding the main theme, trying to sneak it in under cover of darkness.  For anyone who can be bothered to look, “The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive” is clearly plastered smack across both the book’s front cover and title page.  Saint Irenaeus’ quote also appears as a stand-alone on the page preceding the Contents.  It’s not like the theme is a state secret!

Contrary to what Zxerce claims, Eldredge doesn’t make a vacuum statement that God is ”committed to my happiness,” but rather to “my coming fully alive” – which results in happiness, joy, delight, etc.  Although subtle, this distinction is crucial.  The difference between the two is stark and causes Zxerce’s entire syllogism and summary to collapse like a house of cards.

A Few More ?s:

Zxerce also misses the salient parts about “original glory, which comes before sin and is deeper to our nature.  We were crowned with glory and honor” and “… The reason you doubt there could be a glory to your life is because that glory has been the object of a long and brutal war” (p. 14).  Did he also overlook, “Unable to overthrow the Mighty One, he (Satan) turned his sights on those who bore his image.” (p. 14)?

Apparently Zxerce also managed to skip over pages 14 and 15 where Eldredge explains that our hearts are the targets of the Enemy.  Did Zxerce also miss observations like, “war is a central theme of God’s activity” (p. 14), “the birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion” (p. 16), and “war is not just one among themes in the Bible.  It is the backdrop for the whole Story, the context for everything else.  God is at war. … And what is he fighting for?  Our freedom and restoration.  The glory of God is man fully alive.” (p. 16)

You can see how Zxerce misquotes, misconstrues and misrepresents the actual text as well as the primary themes of Waking the Dead.  No where is this more obvious than in his eighth point.  He writes, “In fact, ‘my happiness is the purpose of Christianity’. (An abbreviated quote)”

A “mangled quote” would be more apt.  Point #8 is perhaps the most invidious and pernicious assertion within this summary/critique.  It is also sheer nonsense, flirting with banal.  It’s a cheap shot because that’s not what the book says, implies, or illustrates.  See pages 10 -12 of Waking for the verbatim quote and full context.

Falling Flat

Zxerce’s charge that Waking “misrepresents scripture (sic) – including Jesus’ person and work” and “stands in stark contrast to the New Testament,” falls as flat as a Kansas cornfield for the reasons – and verbatim examples – noted above.

Likewise, two of the silliest allegations made in this review are that “Eldredge’s book ultimately focuses on the realization of human glory” and can be accurately summed up per Zxerce’s “final conclusion”: “I need to live for my happiness.”

Having missed pretty much everything else in Waking, it’s no surprise that Zxerces also misses its focus, which is on reflecting divine glory through whole and holy hearts and “three eternal truths:

Things are not what they seem

This is a world at war.

Each of us has a crucial role to play.

(Does this sound like “I need to live for my happiness” to you?)

A Clarion Call

Zxerce may not be “pulling your leg” with his review, but he is “pulling” inaccurate renderings, distortions, misperceptions, unfounded conclusions and bogus “quotes” from a fine work.  His “summary” misrepresents the theme, foundation, and content of the book and should not be taken seriously by any discerning reader.

Indeed, Waking the Dead is a profound, insightful, and eloquent tome that asks tough questions and offers solid Scriptural answers within a context of Biblical truth and a thoroughly Christian worldview.  Far from “misleading the living,” this extraordinary, engaging and exceptional book is a clarion call to live a whole and holy life to the glory of God.  Five+ stars.

Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive

By John Eldredge

Thomas Nelson, 2003

ISBN: 0-7852-6553-8

Click here to view John Eldredge’s  “summary” of Waking, in his own words:

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=de81fc734bc5689ab6f0

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