Shusaku Endo’s Silence

How shall I put this without appearing over-the-top?  Here it is:  quit reading whatever it is you’re reading and order Shusaku Endo’s powerful, disturbing, insightful, unsettling, thought-provoking novel, Silence.

I had heard Philip Yancey mention Endo before, but I only just recently got around to ordering his masterpiece, Silence.  My wife and I finished reading it last night and we woke up this morning talking about it.  In fact, I have not stopped thinking about it all day, and I do not know if I will ever come to peace over the central tragedies of this amazing book.

The book is about the persecution of Christians in 17th century Japan.  Specifically, it is about a Portugese priest, Father Rodrigues, who travels to Japan to try to find out what has happened to another priest, Father Ferreira, who travelled there before him and who, rumor had it, had apostatized and was living with a wife in Nagasaki.

Rodrigues and his companion Garrpe eventually reach Japan and are immediately immersed in the horror story of the slaughter of Christians in that country at that time.

I fear to say too much, and, in truth, there’s not much more I can say; not so much because doing so would give away the story (which it would), but because it would detract from the experience of walking through this story.  It is, in fact, an experience, and one that I believe Christians in America should encounter.  Along the way, you will be challenged deeply in your thinking about missiology, Christology, and faith.

Shusaku Endo is considered one of the greatest writers ever produced by Japan.  He was a Christian who grappled with his faith in his writings.  His life is fascinating and tragic, and he is a figure that I hope to become more acquainted with as the days go by.

Get this book.

No, seriously, get this book.

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