The Way of Letting Go (review)

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The Way of Letting Go: One Woman's Walk toward ForgivenessThe Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk toward Forgiveness by Wilma Derksen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The abduction of their 13-year-old daughter in November off 1984 shunted Winnipeg residents Cliff and Wilma Derksen onto an unfamiliar and horror-strewn track. The discovery of her body seven months later, bound and frozen, provided closure on one level. She had been murdered. She was never coming home. But that day opened a Pandora’s box of feelings, reactions, learnings, and conclusions about how to deal with the unthinkable crime of the murder of their child. Early on, the Derksens declared their decision to forgive.

In The Way of Letting Go, published in 2017, 32 years after the crime, Wilma Derksen describes what forgiveness has entailed for her. Drawing inspiration from “the Nazarene” and the Sermon on the Mount she tells (in chapters titled, for example: “Letting Go of the Happy Ending,” “Letting Go of Fear,” “Letting Go of my Ego” etc.) incidents that triggered realizations of what she was hanging onto and needed to release. She also analyzes the spiritual and practical implications of these relinquishments.

The triggering incidents she tells help us to put together the Derksen’s story in a puzzle piece way. We also get glimpses of what it was like to be in the spotlight of the victim and involved with the police and justice system of Canada.

The Way of Letting Go not only tells a riveting story but also challenges us to consider (when we’ve been wronged) the difficult, complicated, repetitious (“Seventy times seven”) response of forgiveness. Highly recommended.

This book is part of my own Kindle collection.

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Persecuted (review)

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Persecuted: I Will Not Be SilentPersecuted: I Will Not Be Silent by Robin Parrish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Freedom is fragile and costly. It must be constantly protected and defended by work and by faith … and by blood” (Kindle Location 103).

Rev. John Luther knows these words, uttered during a TV interview, could get him into trouble—especially given the pressure being put on him and Truth Ministries by his old friend Senator Donald Harrison.

Harrison’s baby is the Faith and Fairness Act—a piece of legislation he is determined to get passed whatever it takes. But so far, Luther has resisted bringing his popular and influential ministry on board. After all, it is an act that would bind Luther and his TV show “… to publicly declare your religious beliefs in a way that permits equal time and respect to other faiths.”

Big mistake. At last that’s what some consider it. Luther’s steadfast refusal to buckle to the forces of compromise, even after a personal visit from Harrison, puts in motion a chain of events that is the gripping political suspense tale Persecuted by Robin Parrish.

An ominous man in a gray suit, a distraught wife and innocent child, an intuitive and loyal father (also a man of the cloth), and two gutsy investigators make up the cast of characters.

It’s a David and Goliath fight all the way as John soon finds himself pitted against ruthless, shadowy figures who will stop at seemingly nothing. And they are getting their orders from whom? Could it be the highest power in the land?

The themes of freedom of religion and conscience, the relationship of fathers and sons, and the importance of family play out before us in scenes that go from palm-sweatingly tense to tender. John Luther’s checkered past plays a large part in convincing the public and even those close to him that he might be capable of the acts pinned on him. His backstory, told as flashback scenes between current incidents, helps us understand the gravity of his situation even as these episodes provide a break from suspenseful action of the here-and-now.

A set of nine “Questions for Conversation” completes the book’s offering.

The writing is strong with nothing to distract from the story’s spell and I found the book hard to put down (though John’s success at avoiding his pursuers did stretch my credulity from time to time). The book’s message of warning is timely as we see the political climate of western countries warm towards tolerance as the highest value, no matter what the cost to personal conscience and freedom. I also loved the portrayal of Charles Luther, John’s father—a rock John could always depend on no matter what. The way Charles fathered John reminds me of how God fathers us. The questions at the book’s end make this a good choice for book clubs to read and discuss.

I received Persecuted as a gift from publisher Bethany House for the purpose of writing a review. The quality of the NetGalley Kindle download was, as usual, abysmal with inconsistent formatting and letters missing within words. I only hope the ebook offered for sale is better quality!

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