Friday, January 28, 2011

The Backslider

A surprise.

I did not expect to enjoy this book. It would not appeal to those not familiar to Utah/Mormon culture, since it so very specific to that culture. It spoke to me though very strongly about the foundational principles of Christianity without beating me over the head with it. The story stands on its own. You have to like Frank. He exudes common sense and honesty, and his obvious flaws make him endearing.

Frank is a young man who decides he must straighten out his life. He has however, a truly flawed sense of who God is and how He sees his wayward children. He sees God with Frank in his rifle sights, just waiting to pull the trigger. Frank feels he must "balance the books" of behavior, so that his "good deeds" outweigh the bad. He tries and tries, but finds it just impossible to do more good than bad. Growing up, he never came to understand the role of the Savior, Jesus Christ, though his parents were themselves devout Mormons.

His new Lutheran wife is the surprising catalyst to help him understand the role that the atonement of Jesus Christ plays in our recovery and acceptance by God. They help each other toward balance -mainly by making plenty of painful mistakes, and then coming to the realization that the process of making mistakes and redemption is the narrative of a full and complete life.

As Deja continued to tell me, "...just wait until you meet the cowboy Jesus". That is when Frank finally gets it.

This book could not be recommended for young readers. There are adult themes here, even though handled with discretion.

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