My goal for the year is to read one book a month for the year, and so far I’m on track! The goal for reading this year is to help frame my world view, so I assumed it would be wise to leave a small review after each book so I can remember what I read.
Here’s the first one. (I got it for $1.99 on Amazon is why it was the first one)
Review of 7 Men
This book in one sentence:
Collection of micro biographies of men whom Eric Metaxas thinks are cool.
He’s not wrong. It’s worth a read.
The men that we’re chosen to be written about in this book are listed chronologically which is kind of cool because you can see how different eras of time produced different dilemmas for the men listed. As with all of Eric Metaxas’ books, he focuses on the spiritual strengths of these men, which as one review noted could make this Hebrews 11 part 2.
It starts off with George Washington. Who was a pretty awesome guy. Not just because he was our first president, and an accomplished general, but because he was the one who started us off on this grand democratic republic experiment.
After the revolutionary war, there were soldiers calling for Washington to take over as king. Seeing he was the most powerful man in this new United States that made sense.
In those days that’s what happened, military leader vanquishes enemies they come back and rule until they die or some beats them.
Washington stepped down as general only to be convinced to step up and lead as president because he was the only one the founders thought could perform the job. He agreed to 4 years, then another 4, at the end of that 4 he did something unthinkable for those days. He stepped down and passed on the job of president of the United States. He had the most powerful position available in America at the time and he stepped down. Something only possible for someone who was seriously grounded in the scripture to the point that they understood that their reward is not on earth but in heaven.
The next man discussed was William Wilberforce. The man responsible for the abolition of slavery in Europe. He’s the subject of another of Metaxas’ biographies, “Amazing Grace”. So if you read that or saw the movie you have an idea of who this guy was. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure though, Wilberforce grew up in the “Christian” Europe, the quotes indicate that these people went to church on Sunday, and proclaimed Christianity as their religion, but didn’t believe what the bible said was real. It was a nation that had grown cold towards religion. Protestants and evangelicals were looked at as crazy people that the high society simply would not be associated with. This would likely have been Wilberforce’s fate as well had his father not died.
Not wanting her son to be raised in poverty, Mrs. Wilberforce sent her son to live with relatives. Unbeknownst to her, they were evangelicals, they housed many traveling pastors, and held services in their home. Eventually , the fire caught and Wilberforce became a genuine Christian. His family found out though, and took him back. He stayed in touch with his relatives via secret letters for a while, but eventually he slide back into the status quo.
He became somewhat of a parliamentary prodigy in the years after, and would have probably lived a successful life had it not been for one long trip he took with someone who he admired. (Another sneaky Christian.) In those days going somewhere was a week’s long ordeal. No family conversion vans to pile in, just one carriage. Picking your companion was important. God placed this man of God (whose name escapes me at this moment) in that carriage with Wilberforce, and over the journey Wilberforce was forced again to deal with what he now knew to be true.
Shortly thereafter he was again passionate for Christ. But now his eyes were open, he could see the travesty that was slavery but he knew that he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, even with his high position in parliament without first changing the culture. Spoiler: He did.
Next he talks about Eric Liddell, Mr. Chariots of Fire. An incredible athlete, but a much more incredible Christian. He refused to run his best race in the Olympics because they held the race on Sunday, the Lords day. That alone is an impressive story, but the rest of his life is more impressive. He left athletics to become a missionary in China, he was married, and eventually sent his family back to Canada to be safe while he stayed in China, and was eventually captured and placed in a POW camp. Not one to let a little rain dampen his life, he dedicated himself to keeping the children of the camp safe. He was once being negotiated to be release as the terms of a hostage exchange, but he gave up his spot for a pregnant lady. There’s a lot more to say on him, but space is of the essence,
Then we have Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the subject of another biography Pastor, Martyr, Spy. Awesome man of God, who fought the Nazi’s from the inside. He was arrested multiple times, and was eventually killed. He knew that he would likely die defending the Jew’s and other victims of the Nazi oppression but he carried on.
Then we have Jackie Robinson, who is the subject of the movie 42. It’s a really good movie with Harrison Ford in it. What the movie fails to convey, however, is that Christian Faith was the fundamental centerpiece for why the manager chose to bring him up and the reason that Robinson was chosen. (Also exceptional athleticism.)
Pope John Paul 2. If he played basketball they’d call him CP2. Not being catholic I had no idea who this was so it was very interesting to see how someone had dedicated so much of their life to Christ and affected so many millions of people.
Then we have Chuck Colson. The guy who took the brunt of the attacks for most of Nixon’s scandals. In the light of his life basically falling apart he finds Christ. Nobody buys it. He’s so sold out to his conversion that when on trial for his actions he pleads guilty to crimes he wasn’t even on trial for. He goes to jail for his actions. But Colson sees an opportunity while in prison. There is no one ministering to the prisoners. (The ones that Jesus told us to minister to) So when Colson is release he comes right back. Seriously, a few days after he’s released he comes back and ministers to the inmates. Then he starts Prison Fellowship Ministries, then Angel Tree along the way writing books about his conversion and his new life with Christ.
These men of God were impactful in the world and God sent them for that specific time. I think it’s awesome. Really awesome to see how the men relied on God in their times of trouble, and how God used them.