Grief is cruel and it does not discriminate. For One More Day by Mitch Albom is a visceral account of a broken man whose life spiraled out of control after his mother died. Albom’s internationally renowned reputation is evident in this book as he threads together how painful and isolating it can be to lose someone you love. Albom’s narrative mastery is on full display as he details the harsh reality of coping in this story. He also poetically ties together a heartwarming and beautiful ending of forgiveness and resolution to live a life of meaning and gratitude.
Everyone either has or will be affected by loss and grief in their lives. The Psalmist tells us that people are not alone in their grief. In fact, the God of the Bible will draw near to those with grieving hearts even in the lowest times.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a problem across our society today. It is one thing to be shocked as you look at the CSA prevalence data, but it is another thing to shed light on the lived experience of CSA survivors. Warrior is Glori Meldrum’s memoir—in this book she details her harrowing, yet remarkable story of being a CSA survivor herself in the raw up and down moments of her life post-trauma. We ultimately learn of Meldrum’s story of grit and resilience as she never gave up and ended up establishing a world-class, evidence-based facility for CSA survivors in Western Canada.
The reality of sin and evil is undeniable when you look at the effects of CSA. This problem will not go away easily, but there is hope for recovery and prevention—there are also people who truly care that are leading work and development in this key health area. Meldrum’s lived experience shows us that in order to live, you have to fight. The New Testament shows us a similar fighting spirit, as it calls for perseverance in faith in light of the hope of Christ’s resurrection and eventual return.
Demons can manifest themselves in the form of ideas. Ideas can be gripping, tempting, and even utopia in nature--which is why there’s no surprises when people latch themselves and even sacrifice their lives for the sake of a collective vision or ideology. In Demons by Dostoyevsky, he outlines how the dark side of ideas can infiltrate the individual, eventually infecting a whole nation. In 19th century Russia, several demons took over his nation in the form of Western ideals of utilitarianism and atheism. Dostoevsky compared the downfall of his nation to the New Testament where Jesus sends demons into pigs and the pigs end up killing themselves. That’s essentially what happened to his people in Russia--demons entered normal civilians as well as state officials and they ended up killing themselves in misshapen ways.
The New Testament shows us a different way to think through and filter ideologies. It does not seem to be linked with a particular ideology and it seems to converge at a principle of sacrificial love. Loving first and foremost gets at the core message of the Bible and when you find yourselves in disputes, it also teaches us to be humble, to listen, and be patient in conversations.
Written by: Jonathan Jin
The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1- Solzhenitsyn
One of the things that has struck me is the great danger of lying to yourself. I saw this play out in visceral detail from the Gulag Archipelago Volume 1, written by the Russian Nobel Laureate, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. During his life in the Soviet Union, approximately one in three people were government informers, and the lies of the collective society progressively destabilized the nation, leading ordinary men and women into a decent to chaos. The utopian communist ideal was embodied, but it turned out to be murderous, cold, and plain evil. Solzhenitsyn's life is a testament to how an individual cut through the mire and the noise of a corrupt time to find light in darkness—his lived experience is worth thinking about.
Solzhenitsyn believed that the radical restructuring of human soul is an antidote to corruption. It is an arduous, iterative, and challenging road but with each moral decision his life shows that it is possible. You start to see simple pleasures like the first cell you are locked up in, eating stale bread crumbs, and feeling the warmth of a shabby blanket (even amidst a decrepit, death cell in Solzhenitsyn’s case). Yet, this gradual restructuring of the soul also attunes you to the great capability of evil in ordinary men and women. Solzhenitsyn shows us that we cannot delude ourselves of the depravity in our own hearts. When this becomes clear to you, you subsequently start searching for answers and hope, desperately. When you get right down to the core of your intuitions you realize that it is your soul that is crying out for hope in the form of a saviour. It is humbling to realize you cannot do this by yourself. However, the Biblical worldview shows us there is a path carved out for us to follow, much like a lamp to your feet in a dark, unknown path. The lamp may not light up your entire world at once, but the proximal illumination is just enough to press onto the next step.
GraceFinder Continues to Seek to Develop Young Leaders Who Are Found in Grace and Finding Grace for Life...
With this article below in mind, please pray for wisdom as we navigate these uncertain times. We continue to develop young leaders using Zoom in book clubs, providing resources, one one one, and whatever means necessary while we encourage them to find grace in a church community of faith to journey for life. With many people facing layoffs and financial difficulty we have been reticent to ask for support but if you find that you have the means this is a very opportune time. With open hands, we look to the grace of the servant King of our world...Jesus. http://gracefinder.org/support-new/