In this compelling novel that mirrors church scandals in the news today, Jim, middle-aged bank manager, is torn between a desire to believe the best and suspicion resulting from an apparent indiscretion by his popular young pastor Dave.
One of my top picks for 2008| Posted January 08, 2009
I have never really struggled to write a review before, but then Iíve never read a book like Fallen before. The plot is simple, really. Jim, the chairman of his church, sees their Pastor Dave in a Mercedes with a strange woman. Jim must decide if he should confront Dave with the impropriety of the action or trust that Dave would never knowingly do the wrong thing. Jim agonizes over the decision, waffling between confronting Dave or letting it go, letting the decision consume him.
It is right here, at this simple point, that I was hooked.
Why, you ask? How could such a simple idea hook me? Because the very struggle that Jim embarks on is sadly a struggle lacking in our churches today. But you say again, why? Why would I want to find a struggle in the church? Because sin doesnít exist in a vacuum. It doesnít pass over our churches. Our very nature as sinful beings guarantees that sin is present everywhere we go, but not all men or women in positions of authority in todayís churches are willing to hold their Pastor or each other accountable for their sins. It is easier to assume that the Pastorís heart is good, that he has the best interest of his flock motivating his decisions than to think he might have sinned. And in the case of Fallen, not only sinned but very cleverly and decidedly covered it up.
Author Matthew Raley, does an excellent job of bringing this issue before us in an entertaining format. The book reads fast and moves quickly even though most of the book is spent in dialogue between Jim and Dave, with little action to drive the pace. It is in this dialogue, that Raley gives the reader a chance to grasp the incredible personal cost that Jim faces as he moves forward in this battle to reveal Daveís sin. It also gives the reader a chance to witness a strong commitment to doing the right thing, but a commitment that in the end becomes all powerful and takes over Jimís best intentions and reveals Jimís sins as well. Itís what Jim does when he realizes that he too has sinned that brings this story full circle. That I will not tell you, as Iíve spoiled enough of the story already.
In my reviews, I recommend many Christian fiction titles because they are well written and enjoyable to read. Many have minimal lessons to be learned but further the spread of the Gospel by encouraging those who donít have a personal relationship with Jesus to simply pick up the book and maybe begin asking questions. Then there are a few that cause me to really delve into my Christian walk and examine my heart. Fallen is such a book. I found the theme of sin in our church to be so true to what I know exists in todayís churches, that at times I had to put it down, yet it was so compelling that I had to pick it back up and finish it.
What more could you want from a Christian book? Pick up a copy today, you wonít be disappointed.