Not everything that can be counted counts,
and not everything that counts can be counted.
This quote is a great comfort to me, because when I start counting my virtues and good works, I come up really, really short. In fact, some days practically empty.
I’m so thankful that is one of the things that don’t count, and that God’s mercies are new every morning.
I finished another one of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s books last night, and I am again amazed at the insight she shows. This is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She tackles a lot of tough questions in such a fascinating way. Her books are targeted for young people, but some of them present some challenging thoughts even to us old folks.
Leaving Fishers is about a girl named Dorry who is new in her high school. No one really seems interested in becoming friends with her at first, but then a very attractive group of young people invite her to join them. She is overwhelmed by their attention, amazed at how interested they are in her, and how kind and thoughtful they are. When she finds that they are a religious group, she is intrigued.
The story unfolds gradually, with Dorry entering joyfully into this new life, loving her new friends and all the social events and spiritual insights that go along with it. After being baptized and becoming a full-fledged Fisher of Men, she discovers that there is also a lot of work involved in being a Fisher, and that she will be reporting to her discipler each day about her performance. She is taught how to pray and instructed that she should be praying for at least an hour every day, and gradually she is set more and more “tasks” that she should complete.
What began as pure joy becomes a drudgery, with many doubts and much guilt, as Dorry finds that she can never measure up to the demands of the cult. She becomes distanced from her family and her grades fall, because she is forced to spend more and more time with Fishers.
As the title hints, Dorry does eventually leave the cult, and though the author doesn’t explain a true relationship with Christ quite as solidly as I would have liked, she does at least leave Dorry seeking and on the trail of the truth. She doesn’t simply pooh-pooh anything to do with God and walk away. She repents of her performance-based “salvation” and begins reading the Bible for herself.
This book is interesting because it manages to show how a cult can look quite beautiful and yet have many hidden dangers. It shows the things that are wrong, and yet doesn’t make all Christianity seem ridiculous, as I have seen similar books do. Even though I wouldn’t say that this is an overtly Christian book (I really have no idea whether the author is Christian or not) I think it is a good book for a Christian to read. It highlights some of the ways that well-meaning people fall into error.
And besides that, it is just an incredibly well-written book. Like all the M. P. Haddix books I have read, it’s very hard to put down. Of course, it seems that a lot of books are that way for me.