Sunday, December 26, 2010

While We're Far Apart

Lynn Austin, who has been mentioned in my ramblings before, has written a new book: While We're Far Apart, published by Bethany House. The story deals with two characters, a young woman (Penny Goodrich) and an older man (Jacob Mendel) whose lives intersect during World War II. Jacob Mendel is an Orthodox Jew, who is bitter toward God because his wife has recently died and whose son and daughter-in-law are trapped in Europe during Hitler's war against the Jews. Penny is not Jewish, but her life intersects with members of the Jewish community in a variety of ways that are not unusual given that this is Brooklyn during the 1940s.

The book covers themes like anti-Semitism, Jewish-Christian relations, young love, closed adoptions, family secrets, and alienation. Wandering Jude is thankful that the Jewish characters in this book (including Jacob Mendel) are treated with respect and dignity. They are not perfect, but then again neither are the Christian characters. There are no "bizarro" evangelicals who engage in long and successful theological disputations with Jews. There are no "Apostle Paul" type of Jews who begin the book as antagonists toward Christianity and end it as converts to the Christian religion. Yes, there is a relatively minor Jewish character who "off stage" (and in the past) becomes a Christian, but this event is integral to the plot of the book and is not used as proselytizing propaganda by the author. To put it another way, thank you Lynn Austin for writing an evangelical-oriented book about Jews and Christians that doesn't denigrate in any way the Jewish religion.

Wandering Jude will sleep well tonight.

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