Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reviewing Gene Edwards' A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness

Gene Edwards dedicates A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness to brokenhearted Christians coming out of authoritarian groups, seeking solace, healing, and hope. Many Christian leaders have recommended this story that focuses on the lives of King Saul, King David, and David's son, Absalom. I was gifted with this 30-year-old book at the start of the school year, and every week or so the administrators I work with read and discuss approximately a dozen pages. This second edition contains less than 100 pages and is divided into two parts comprised of 27 chapters. Part one is about King Saul and David when he was a shepherd boy. In part two David is now king, and his son Absalom is attempting to overthrow him. The book also contains 17 discussion questions and two chapters from The Prisoner in the Third Cell (Edwards' story about John the Baptist).

Fiction is not my cup of tea, but I like how this book was based on biblical accounts. If you are a fundamentalist, you probably will not like the creative liberties Edwards takes in his writings. I did not have any problemo with Edwards' view on the lives of the men he wrote about, but I want to note that we should not walk away from reading this book thinking we should never go on the offensive. The main point Edwards wants to get across is that we should not throw spears at those who throw spears at us (Matthew 5:38-42). I agree, but there are times when we are called to take action. Yes, God is sovereign. He is the supreme ruler of the universe, and He is in total control of everything. However, God calls us to respond differently to different situations. We're not David, and we should look to the ultimate David, Jesus Christ. Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. When He displayed anger, He did so righteously. Our problem is that the overwhelming majority of the time when we get angry, we sin. Jesus had controlled anger when His Father was being dishonored. We usually get angry because someone says something rude to us, someone does not prepare the food we ordered in the way we like it, or hot water does not come out of the shower head for us. Through spiritual disciplines such as the reading of Scripture and prayer, we can receive the answers we need in order to know how to respond to the storms of life in a Christlike way.

So what is my final take on A Tale of Three Kings? I give the book a B-, but perhaps I would rate it higher if I was more of the poetic variety. :-)