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Submitted on 25th February 2011
A book that changed my view of the world and of Christianity was Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and it was in my late teens that I made a commitment to the church. I first read this not long afterwards, while I was trying to make sense of what my decision actually meant. The church I was attending was an Anglican church and was full of very nice people doing nice things. The trouble was that when I read the Bible I saw unusual people doing unusual things. Whether that was action sequences in the Old Testament with wars sweeping the nations and nutty prophets popping up, the miracles in the gospels, or especially the journeys of Paul in the book of Acts. Paul was jailed, miraculously freed, arrested again, shipwrecked and beaten at various times all for his faith. To a teenager from Hull this seemed a whole different world to the one where I lived – and I couldn’t connect the life of my church to what I was reading. This caused me difficulty as I wanted to fully commit but it didn’t seem to still be the same God who was in charge.
This book showed me that the God at work in the bible was indeed the same God at work in the world today and that if I put my trust in him I too could be used.
In Chasing the Dragon Jackie, as a young lady, applies and is turned down, as not suitable, for working with some mission agencies – and so decides to set off anyway. She ends up in Hong Kong and joins a work in a poor Chinese area. She has a number of challenges, not least dealing with the local triad gangs, but sees God working through the ministry. She ends up speaking in tongues, praying for healing (and seeing drug addicts immediately cured) and seeing a work established that combined the social gospel of outreach to the poor, sick and hopeless, with a belief and trust in the miraculous intervention of God in people's lives. The hungry were fed, the sick were cared for, families were put back together and the miraculous took place.
When I read the bible I saw unusual people doing unusual things … To a teenager from Hull this seemed a whole different world to the one where I lived.
This book showed me that the God at work in the bible was indeed the same God at work in the world today and that if I put my trust in him I too could be used. I’m glad that the nice people in my church were there for me as without them I may never have started my faith journey, but as someone who was excited by Paul’s journeys and envied his adventures I’m glad that Jackie’s story showed me then, and continues to show me now, that more is possible for Christians living today.
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World Book Day 2011
World Book Day takes place on 3rd March 2011. Some of the ICC staff have been thinking about books that have meant a lot to them: