I just finished reading Wm. Paul Young’s new book Cross Roads. And I’m giving it two thumbs up because it made me laugh, it made me nod my head in agreement and, yes…it made me cry. What did I enjoy most about this book? Well, first of all I liked the way it’s completely different from The Shack and yet…it’s sort of similar. I mean, it’s similar in the way that Jesus and the Holy Spirit still show up (and yes there’s still a “shack” in there), but it’s completely different since it made me LAUGH. And I definitely didn’t laugh when I read The Shack.
Cross Roads (like The Shack) is about choosing to live in love. In it we follow a man by the name of Tony as he comes face to face with the love of God. Through a strange intervention of God (and yes it’s a very strange intervention), Tony is given the chance to live a life of love, during the last few days of his life. What I like about this book is that even though Tony has walked away from love, from friends, from family, Jesus still steps in to draw Tony back. And isn’t that just what Jesus always seems to do… he helps us to abide in love.
My favorite character in the book is Cabby, a mentally disabled boy of sixteen who I am sure everyone will fall in love with (Cabby happens to be based on a real person, and perhaps this is why he is so utterly adorable and believable. I have to admit, I sort of wanted the whole book to be about Cabby; his favorite saying was, “kikmahass!”
But even though Cabby wasn’t the main character, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. And anyone who has been in the church system long enough, will also enjoy it. It will make you laugh. It will bring up all those funny memories (funny now, of course) that you went through over the years. After all, we “church people” …we do some stupid stuff. Reading Cross Roads brought to mind one situation from my past and well, in the spirit of Cross Roads, here’s a little story from my past to entertain you…
I once went to a “Learn Your Spiritual Gifts” class, held on a weekend at a big community church. (I was new at this church and thought the class would help me fit in and get to know people.) After answering all the questions in the booklet, my gift came out as “faith.” I did notice that REALLY spiritual gifts like “speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy” weren’t listed in the book. I was a fairly new Christian and thought, maybe not too many people have those gifts, so they weren’t needed on the list.
After answering all the questions in the booklet, we were all divided up into groups based on our gifts. I was with this one other guy whose gift was also faith. Other groups had like 10 people in them and I wondered, Why are there so few people with the gift of faith? We were then told to describe how our gift works. The people with the gift of “helps” went first, then “administration,” then it was our turn to describe faith, so the pastor asked me to explain, and I said, “Well, basically I hear God speak and then I do what he says.” The other guy in my group (who was older than I was) nodded and said, “Yup, that’s it.”
And off we were hauled. To the room in the back of the church. (Which I already knew meant trouble.)
The pastor then told us God doesn’t speak and if we were hearing “voices” then it was the devil.
The next day, I was asked to leave the church because (after having a meeting about me and the other guy) they didn’t know what to do with the “gift of faith.” The pastor said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we don’t know what to do with the gift of faith—if that is indeed what you have.” So I felt sad, but at the same time I wasn’t exactly mad because I didn’t know what to do with this gift of faith either!
The next week I went to this new church (which was tiny) and when they asked people to come forward for prayer, I went up. The pastor put his hand on my head and said, “OH, the gift of faith!…God wants to give you another gift.” So I said, “What is it?” and the pastor said, “More faith!” I said (to myself) Great, more faith. Just what I need. And then I fell over because suddenly the Holy Spirit slapped more faith into me! (I actually fell over.)
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