November 16, 2012

Review of Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

Embedding theology in narrative makes Truth seem less precise, even messy to the Westernized mind. Theological tenets should be listed with bullets points and proof texts; where many falsely believe there is less opportunity for misunderstanding. Often, though, the only way to present the depth and complexity of a truth is to couch it inside story.

Wm. Paul Young, whether you agree with his take or not, seems to have mastered this ability to present the struggle to find God in midst of brokenness through the power of story. Cross Roads is the followup to the bestselling novel The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. Anthony Spencer is a driven, angry, broken businessman who has chased success his entire life. His win at all costs mentality leaves him with no concern for the hurt caused to those around him.

After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage, Anthony enters a purgatorial world and faces the  consequences of the ruinous life he has lived. His journey of discovery and transformation is guided by Young’s re-presented God-figures. The power of this story is that it reflects in essence the pain’s we have experiences and the pains we have caused.

The power of a writer is found in his or her ability to draw you into the story and cause you to forget you are just reading a book. While the first few chapters are a bit slow moving and verbally heavy, I found myself, as I did with The Shack, drawn into the story. Things pick up about chapter 3.

Anthony’s interaction with the Godhead challenges us to explore God’s attributes from a different perspective. As with The Shack, there will likely be some backlash to the characters who represent God. Some will once again disagree with aspects of his theological presentation, but I appreciate the narrative form that forces us to rethink our understanding of the Godhead and the human struggle to find healing in a broken world.

One of my favorite lines was a twist on Jonathan Edward’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Wm. Young describes the crucifixion as “God in the hands of angry sinners.” That line provoked some thinking and reflection about a loving God who willingly joined our painful, suffering, evil world to bring hope, healing, and salvation.

Anthony’s journey, in the hands of Wm. Young, explores the challenges faced as we attempt to reconcile the hurts that shape us and how those hurts push to hurt others. I recommend reading Cross Roads. It is challenging, but just might inspire a different perspective that enables you to experience God in a new and fresh way.

Here are few videos you might find helpful as you evaluate this book:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR,Part 255.

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