My Fitness

Monday, May 23, 2016

bearing witness review and giveaway

To win a copy, simply comment below. I'll select a winner this weekend.

When I was first given the option to review this book, I was more than a bit skeptical. In my younger days I would not have thought twice before reading a book about martyrs. But as my age increases so have my strings of attachment to this world. Not to this world exactly, but to my children more specifically. I don't like thinking about physical or spiritual harm that may befall them. I don't like to think about how they might be tortured because of my refusal to recant my belief in Christ.

When I think about the torturous persecution that so many Christians have experienced throughout history and even today still, I shudder. I try to imagine what that is like. How would I handle that situation? What would I do? I hope I'd be able to tell my kids, "It's going to hurt. It's going to hurt a lot. But then we get to see Jesus and its all over. And then you will never hurt again."

Would I be able to withstand the torture? I don't think I would be able to stand strong. But I know I wouldn't be able to turn away from Jesus. Every day we make decisions that draw us closer or further from God. I've not yet met a person who follows Christ wholeheartedly. But I have met many people who are trying. I've met many more who pretend to be. Rarely have I met someone who has deceived themselves into believing they are. This book is a list of people who were given the option to live wholeheartedly for Christ. They chose to die wholeheartedly for Christ. They chose a life that ended in a death without hypocrisy. Many people if given the option to be shot in the head or deny Christ, would choose to be shot. But how many of us could stand to watch our children be ravaged by lions because we could not deny Christ? Do we love Christ more than we love our children?

I live in America in one of the most hospitable eras. We think persecution is being force to bake cakes. I love this form of persecution. I will bake gay cakes all day long if given the choice. What a great opportunity to open a dialogue about the grace of God and the sacrifice of his Son to lead every consumer of that cake to heaven. Christ died to save the people who eat that cake. I like this time and place.

This book is part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project, a collection of Anabaptists from a wide range of traditions. I didn't realize that anabaptists had any kind of evangelism. This book proves me wrong. In a world where people of faith are tempted to take up violence to protect their convictions and cultures, these martyrs show how genuine power is made perfect in weakness. Christian martyrdom and costly discipleship are not confined to some legendary past. With vivid storytelling and reliable sources, this book teaches us about nonviolent love in the face of opposition and challenges us to take risks for the gospel today. (back cover)

Why do we in North America still need to tell martyr stories today?

...while reminding us that nonresistant love is not likely to be rewarded here on earth.

About the book specifically, it has a nice content page that shows the martyr as well as their location. You don't have to read the book straight through. You can go to a specific person. I read one story. It was difficult to read. I cried a lot. I don't know that "encouraging" was the right word so much as self-reflective and humbling are. This book makes me feel stupid for everything I've ever complained about.

(For the record, I am not anabaptist. If you come into my house and threaten my children, I will assume that you are very eager to meet Christ and I will do everything in my and my Glock's power to help you meet him asap.)

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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