Friday, January 30, 2009


THE SUMMARY: Davy's world revolves around the joys of growing up in his neighborhood--an early morning paper route, street baseball, tree house meetings, homemade fireworks, and quirky neighbors. He emulates his father, and longs to be like him. Yet when a new family moves into the neighborhood, it causes a rift in Davy's family, and eventually, the entire neighborhood, dividing families, dividing neighbors. Davy suddenly doesn't recognize his father and wrestles with defending his father's actions and honestly looking at his dad's flaws.

THE MESSAGE: This is more than a story about racial prejudices in the 1960s. It's the story of a young man who suddenly realizes his father isn't perfect and begins to question many of his foundational beliefs. He longs for his father to be the dad of his dreams and wrestles with finding a balance between doing what is right and also honoring his father. And although Davy comes face to face with the ugly discrimination against a black family, he soon recognizes the many ways his neighbors judge all fringe members of society.

THE PRESENTATION: Author Don Locke writes from Davy's perspective. Thus, all adults are addressed as Mr. or Mrs., the joys of life are Good Humor trucks and Roy Rogers belt buckles, and the best way to seal a promise is with boogers. Most of the time Locke refrains from making Davy sound like an adult, although there are a few times Davy sounds older and wiser than his age. This is Locke's second book about Davy, although this one is a prequel to The Reluctant Journey of David Connors. It probably helps to read that book first as there are scenes in The Summer the Wind Whispered my Name that set up The Reluctant Journey.

THE QUOTE: "Maybe there was no real normal. And maybe that was a good thing. I wondered if maybe that's what God had in mind all along."


Thursday, January 22, 2009


THE SUMMARY: Written by Brother Yun with Paul Hattaway, The Heavenly Man follows the life, struggles, persecution, dedication, and faith of Brother Yun, a Chinese house church leader. Turning his life over to Christ at 16, Brother Yun recounts his joys and hardships as he shared the Good News to a spiritually hungry culture from 1974 to 2001. Brother Yun is a man totally committed to following Christ at all costs. In and out of prison for years, Brother Yun endured beatings, electrocution, torture, crushed legs, and worms under his skin. Yet in the midst of his persecution, he didn't waiver in his faithfulness. He tells of singing praise songs while beating a drum with handcuffs; giving away his food to other prisoners; memorizing entire books of the Bible while behind bars; and turning cells into worship centers.

THE MESSAGE: Brother Yun encourages his readers to remember that God is faithful. If we obey God's leading in all situations, miracles will happen, regardless of the circumstances or the battles we face. He also calls out western churches to wake up from complacency, walk in the fire of the Holy Spirit, and to commit to taking the Gospel to unreached nations.

Brother Yun also does not shy away from sharing the sad consequences his family faced because of his faith and resulting persecution. His family lacked food, were dressed in rags, and battled resentment because of Brother Yun's commitment to God first and family second. His persecutors also forced Brother Yun's wife, Deling, to have a surgery preventing her from having more children because she violated the One-Child Law.

Brother Yun embraces his persecution and trials as friends, feeling that it is an honor to receive such attention for Christ's sake. And it is when his life looks the darkest that he experiences God's presence, love, and grace, the greatest.

THE PRESENTATION: Brother Yun's accounts are often mirrors of other familiar biblical heroes: Hearing God's voice like young Samuel, walking out of prison like Peter, and singing with prisoners like Paul. His frequent use of scripture breathes new life into familiar scriptures. He isn't afraid of detailing his shortcomings, from wrestling with a proud heart to disobeying the Lord's voice. However, his writing style feels wooden and unnatural at times, slowing down the pace.

THE QUOTE: "I have learned that when the Lord tells us to do something there is no time for discussion or rationale, regardless of the situation we face. When we are sure God has told us to act, as I was on this occasion, blind obedience is called for. Not to obey God implies that we are wiser than him, and that we know better how to run our lives than he does."