Three Mile an Hour God by Kosuke Koyama — Book Review

Kusuke Koyama (1929-2009), was born to Christian parents in Tokyo and later moved to the United States. He is considered one of the leading Japanese theologians of the twentieth century. This book is a series of short essays reflecting his thoughts on a wide variety of topics including idolatry, technology, syncretism, war, peace and social justice.

Since the book was published in 1979, many of the examples and topics seem a bit dated. His perspective is Asian, with one entire section devoted to his thoughts about WWII and its’ aftermath. I found it quite interesting to view these events through a different cultural lens. I also enjoyed the section on syncretism and the similarities he found between Christianity and other religions.

This is not an easy read, but the material, at least in my view, was worthwhile. If you decide to give it a try, you will find that in spite of generational and cultural differences, we are still facing many of the same challenges defined by Koyama. As the book of Ecclesiastes puts it, “there is nothing new under the sun.”(Ecclesiastes 1:9).

VERDICT: 4 STARS.

For more book reviews see these posts:

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt–Book Review

Live Your Truth and other Lies by Alisa Childers–Book Review

Unexpected Harvest by Scott Stroud–Book Review

until Leaves fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin–Book Review

If you are looking for some light reading this historical romance may be just the thing. In 1940 Lucie Girard, an American living in Paris and performing in the Paris Opera Ballet, has a decision to make: should she flee to America, or remain in the city she has come to love? The decision is made easier when she learns that her Jewish friends, the Greenblatts, will have to abandon their bookstore to avoid Nazi persecution–that is if they can raise the money to start over. Lucie quits the ballet, buys the bookstore, and embarks on a new life journey with twists and turns she could never have imagined.

I’m usually not one for Christian fiction, but this novel is well written and had enough historical detail to maintain my interest. The romance is formulaic and predictable: the protagonists meet and encounter difficulties which could derail their relationship, but in the end, love triumphs and all is neatly wrapped up. The characters are Christian, and their faith if portrayed realistically, as simply part of their lives.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Not amazing, but an acceptable, easy read.

For more Christian fiction see these posts:

The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton–Book Review

The Purple Nightgown by A. D. Lawrence–Book Review

pearl in the sand by Tessa Afshar–Book Review

Forgiving in Unforgiving Circumstances

While traveling to and from the AFLC conference in Wisconsin, I had a lot of time to read in the car.  One of the books I finished was For The Glory: Erick Liddell’s Journey From Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton.

Because of the movie, Chariots of Fire, many people, like me, know that Eric Liddell was an Olympic champion who refused to run on Sunday because of his faith.  Maybe they even remember that after the Olympics he became a missionary to China.  However, there is a “rest of the story” that is equally inspiring:  Eric died in a prisoner of war camp because he was not evacuated from China before the Japanese overran the area where he was serving (the rest of his family had been sent back to Canada).

Here is an excerpt from book’s prologue:

In the beginning, the camp was filthy and unsanitary, the pathways strewn with debris and the living quarters squalid.  ..There were verbal squabbles, sometimes flaring into physical fights, over the meager portions at mealtimes and also the question of who was in front of whom in the line to receive them.  There were disagreements, also frequently violent, over privacy and personal habits and hygiene as well as perceived idleness, selfishness and pilfering.

Liddell stood out as being different.

… his forbearance was remarkable.  No one could recall a single act of envy, pettiness, hubris or self-aggrandizement from him.  He bad mouthed nobody.  He didn’t bicker. …Every night, after studying the Bible, he prayed…He did not discriminate.  He prayed for everyone, even for his Japanese guards.

The verdict of the author:  “His heroism was to be utterly forgiving in the most unforgiving of circumstances.”  I would encourage everyone to read this book about a modern hero of the faith, and learn how forgiveness can change an unforgiving environment.