I just finished listening to this book by Emily Colson, the daughter of Chuck Colson, who was one of the Watergate guys in the Nixon administration to go to prison--the one that got "converted", remember??
Anyway, she wrote this book about raising her autistic son, Max, from infanthood on. But at first I didn't want to listen to it---I mean, I could not take hearing one more story about somebody suffering and trying to deal with incomprehensible obstacles, detail by detail, you know? Too much reality and sadness for me.
But I guess I got desperate for a little "intellectual input" so I started listeningt to it yesterday. Yes, It is a difficult story to hear, as are all stories about anybody having to sacrifice to deal with the situations they find themselves facing in life. But there were one or two underlying themes and truths in this story which made it a story I am sure the Lord wanted me to hear.
I want to meet Ms. Colson---to "Knock her block off" (as Lucy would say to Charlie Brown). God seems to have given her a grace to raise Max that I could never, ever hope to attain to. But believeable. A person I could learn a thing or two from--amazing. She has obviously inherited her father (Chuck Colson's) intellect, but channeled it somehow into raising her little boy to become the person God wants him to be. She tells of the setbacks and disappointments, one of top of another; enough if it were me to make the average person give up completely. It has some really comedic moments, and beginning and ending commentary by Chuck Colson. I am going to listen to the entire book again, and try to digest more of it. This book has taught me more about the ways of God and his view of mankind, through the story of this one kid. It did not leave me feeling "good"; but it left me feeling definitely closer to the Lord. And it was humbling, and left me knowing that God expects more of me than I am giving him right now, which I was very suprised to learn.
I was familliar with the name Francis Schaeffer (Christian theologian) and of 'L'bri' a kind of Christian retreat/learning center in Switzerland begun by him that gained a reputation as a kind of intellectual retreat for those seeking answers to their spiritual questions in an atmosphere of scholarship and intellect. So I was happy to see who wrote this book (Schaeffer's son) and looking forward to hearing a description of growing up in that atmosphere. I am still listening to the book, but so far am quite unimpressed by the book and less so by the author. For example, Schaeffer takes a lot of cheap shots in his descriptions of the evangelical leaders he once worked with. My chief objection is that the organizations these leaders head have donated millions of dollars to help people all over the world--started hospitals, dug wells, started educational programs in places where none existed before, etc. These leaders that he makes sarcastic jokes and comments about started organizations which have saved and improved the lives of people in 3rd world countries and given them hope where none existed. My 'bone to pick' with the author lies not in his criticisms, or even the way he expresses them, but in the fact that he gives no reason why I should accept these criticisms of the evangelical community at face value. Jesus said in the scriptures "by their fruits you shall know them". Well, I know the fruits of the leaders he so glibly criticizes, but I really have no idea of what fruits Schaeffer has produced in his own life, to be able to throw stones at other people's houses. How many poverty stricken people has he helped? Does he give part of his book profits to help the less fortunate? If he does give to help others, he has the credibility to have my attention and listen to his criticisms. But if he does not, then he is far worse in moral character than those he seems to take such pleasure in skewing. It is in many aspects, though, an 'eye-opening' read,
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