Parts of me want to dismiss a book like this.
The parts of me that are inclined to legalism rather than grace see a potential point of confusion here, as the author tells us the practices, the qualities, the relationships, the heart-attitudes that build a life-time of Christian resilience. It would be easy to mistake this, then as a list of what I must do in my own strength. Best avoided, then. Out of sight, out of mind. Safer for all of us.
The parts of me that exude a snobbish disregard for sepia-tinged sentimentality want to dismiss the flashbacks and analogies to the author’s youthful exploits in running. Yes, it’s artfully, beautifully even, written. But it’s all a bit ‘Dead Poets Society’, a bit Mum and apple pie. This is cultural, not eternal. So that’s OK. I need not worry about this too much.
The parts of me that say ‘you, author, do not know what I’ve been through; let me tell you about resilience’. Those parts want to claim wisdom and superiority, achievement and medals in my own image. They want to say – what you say is valid, but I’ve learnt my own lessons, thank you.
There’s elements of truth in all those concerns. Like all the best lies.
Because, you see, like all of MacDonald’s writing, this book is hammered out on the anvil of bitter personal experience. Here’s a man who’s learned that of which he writes, and is still learning.
There’s life in the words, the stories, the lessons in this book. Whatever the temptations otherwise, these are words, stories, lessons you miss at your peril.
I rated this book 5/5 on goodreads.com