Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I had hoped to get my year-end review of my favorite books done, but I’m currently on vacation and have started a powerful novel, Silence, by Shusaku Endo. I remember a guy recommending it in a missions class I took in seminary – that was at least seven years ago. I didn’t know what it was about, but it is definitely not an abstract book of mission theory.

Rather, it is a novel about persecution in Japan in the late 16th, early 17th century. The persecution has been intense and two Catholic priests (thus far in the novel) go to see what is happening. They live in fear while they witness the bravery of peasants in squalid conditions – to the point of martyrdom. But there is a character who is a blatant coward; he has repeatedly denied the faith.

What haunts the priest is the bewilderment, amid this suffering, that God is silent. He is silent while these poor, faithful Japanese Christians are persecuted. It unsettles. Arguments can be helpful, but as they ring hollow when someone is in the midst of suffering, waiting to hear from God. And hearing silence.

I hope there’s some good resolution. Either way, this is a gripping book thus far.

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