The Reluctant Prophet: A Novel by Nancy Rue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reminiscent of Charles Sheldon's In His Steps, The Reluctant Prophet follows the story of Allison Chamberlain as she gets a divine nudge to do crazy things - like buy that Harley Davidson she doesn't even know how to ride. And care for that broken prostitute and her loud-mouthed son who have just lost their father and grandfather. Allison isn't always certain that she's hearing God's voice right, but that doesn't stop her from doing her best to follow what she believes is His will for her life.
Rue addresses several issues in this book - the call of God to take care of the broken and the downtrodden, the religiosity that has crept into the church, and the ability of one person, who opens her heart to God, to start making changes in her community. One of the things I liked about this story was the way it dealt with doubt and faith - and not knowing all the answers. It opens a place for dialogue for people who are struggling with their calling, especially when it is not quite accepted by the church.
Another thing I think this story addresses is the fact that people in the church can and should do ministry with the help of non-believers - one of Chamberlain's greatest support was her fellow HOG, Chief, who's quite a skeptic about God.
The book is not without it's faults: sometimes things just seem to fall into place too easily and too quickly. Sure, Rue is showing that God is sovereign and he uses our background and past even before we knew Him to equip us to do what He wants us to do today, but I would think that a more faith-driven approach might have been a better touch.
On a whole, The Reluctant Prophet was a great read - one of the better Christian fiction I have read in a while. This is the kind of thing that "Christian fiction" needs more of. (Well, I think so anyway).
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I think I'd go far enough to say that this is one of the kinds of books that I'd like to be writing. (Besides awesome swashbuckling, epic type fantasy saga, ahahaha). I just think there needs to be more real stories out there about faith. Not the types where everything is peachy and kind and nice and the worst problem you face is that you're not getting that promotion you wanted, or the guy you had your eyes on has fallen in love with someone else and you're so sure you're going to be single for the rest of your life, but things that talk about what true love in action looks like.
But things that make you question your faith and how you're living it.