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.

Jesse C. Fletcher’s Bill Wallace of China

I would like to encourage any and all of you to take some time and read Bill Wallace of China. It is currently out of print, but shouldn’t be too hard to get a copy of.  I do not think I can recommend this book strongly enough or that I can adequately describe how powerful an experience reading it was for me. Jesse C. Fletcher is to be commended for crafting a work that is at the same time beautiful, shocking, convicting, and inspiring.

This is the story of how a quiet, unassuming, humble, middle-aged, American bachelor from Tennessee gave his life to the people of China. William Wallace was a medical missionary in Wuchow, China, during the turbulent times of the Japanese assault on China leading up to World War II and the rise of Chinese communism that ensued in the wake of that war. It is the story of a man who refused to leave his post when all others had. It is the story of one who won fame as a doctor among the Chinese, won many to faith in Christ, committed heroic deeds in his obstinate refusal to let a Baptist hospital die, and who ultimately died a brutal death in a Chinese communist prison at the hands of his guards.

If ever a culture and people needed true heroes, it is our culture and our people. Dr. Bill Wallace should rightly be presented as just that: a hero. It is hoped that you will purchase and read and share and be moved by this powerful testimony of one of God’s special children, martyr Bill Wallace.