Well, this is the second book that I have started and been unable to finish. And boy, did it stir up all kinds of emotions!
"The Betrayal" by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and her husband (both two of my favorite authors) seemed like the perfect match for me. It challenged some of the history that the Church has spelled out to be how Christ lived and whether the power Christ held was a bit more "human" than some would suggest - that he wasn't the "meek" man we all know, but more of a political-type figure with masses of not-so-nice people willing to work for him, which made him the real threat to Roman leaders.
Before you call me a complete heathen, I must explain. First, the book cover didn't challenge the existence of Christ in any way. These authors are both lettered to the hilt in educational degrees in both the languages of the original translations of the Bible and of early church history itself.
Second, when it comes to my faith - thank goodness that God knows me better than I know myself. He understands that I question everything and want to see it from all viewpoints before I'm comfortable with saying, "This is what I believe." There is a verse in the Bible, it's exact location escapes me, where a man says in one simple phrase, "Lord, I believe everything you are doing and saying, yet I have this nagging little bit of doubt...BUT, I trust you to help me work through all of that..."
Oh, found it...Mark 9:24 NIV "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."
The authors attack my faith and my belief as early as the introduction, challenging me to read the book in the hope that by the end, I would see that my new knowledge might have "threatened my faith" but at least I would know the "truth."
I had a conversation with a friend very recently about being cautious
with the things in our lives that affect our faith - evil can be
introduced to us without us even recognizing it, especially in things
that seem benign or even informative.
And, to be honest, I've already got a grip on "the Truth."
That said...admittedly, the style of the book was also very difficult.
They used actual ancient translations for common names and moved back
and forth between story lines that I found very difficult to follow.
That extra challenge made it hard for me to even want to try and see the
whole thing through. For that very reason, by the third chapter, I put this book away.
Sooo...now I've moved on! Next up? Well...you'll see! :)
Onward and Forward!!