There’s the “Antique Allegory” and the “Contemporary Christian (novel)”. I’ve given these unofficial terms to two sorts of Christian literature identified by Wikipedia. Honestly, I’d never made the distinction. I would have lumped them together. But being drawn to Christian allegory for its unique qualities after having read Pilgrim’s Progress, my interest was piqued and I wanted to learn more.
If it wasn’t for wanting to make the post title an appropriate length, I would have specified that John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress changed the way I pray for lost people in my life. Let me go ahead and explain.
The book opens with a man. He grew up in the fictional City of Destruction, representative of the human condition of lostness. After reading a certain book, he’s made aware that his city and all its inhabitants are destined to be destroyed. He too would be destroyed if nothing changed. As he understood and believed the things written in the book, Christian (for that is the man’s name) developed a burden on his back.
Yes, Isolated is YA suspense. I try to pack my stories with edge-of-your-seat plot twists. But it’s not all scares and woes, either. The quote I want to share with you comes from a euphoric scene. Of all the scenes in Isolated that make me beam inside whenever I edit or re-read them, this one probably ranks second.
This quote is removed from its context and won’t have its full impact, but nonetheless, here it is:
I expected to enjoy Pilgrim’s Progress. My reading experience, however, has far exceeded my expectations.
The text is oozing with rich Christian allegory. The book has stimulated my desire to be a faithful and devoted servant of the Most High God. I can’t think how else to describe the reading experience but that it’s been glorious! And it’s kindled in me a desire to read more literature like It.
I’ve read Pilgrim’s Progress before. Twice. Once it was a children’s edition with gorgeous full-color pictures. Then, when I was older, I read the full book but re-written in modern English. This time I’m reading an edition closer to the original, which John Bunyan wrote in the 1600’s.
Pilgrim’s progress is an allegory. It’s the daring adventure of a man who left his family and home on a hazardous journey to the Celestial City. At face value, it’s a tale of adventure, but it’s also symbolic of the Christian life. What I recently learned was that the author wrote it while in prison for his faith. Doesn’t that just make his message all the more strong?
The Journey of a Cambodian Cowboy by Yon Roeury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a very moving story about a young Khmer Cowherd who survived grinding poverty, the breakup of his family and the death of his mother to get himself an education and build a brighter future for himself. Written in both Khmer and English, the author takes on an intimate and sometimes painful journey through a land and people still traumatized by genocide and war to halfway across the Bridge to Brightness. It is a timeless story about an individual as he struggles to overcome adversity and will inspire readers of all ages and cultures, especially the current generation of the Khmer people.
I’ve read a lot of three-star books recently. Joining the ranks, Yon Reoury’s The Journey of a Cambodian Cowboy also gets 3/5 stars from me. Once again, I’ll mention Goodreads’ interpretation. Three stars mean I “liked it.” I think that’s a fairly accurate assessment.
Dear Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend,
I recently read your book, the original Boundaries. It was recommended to me by a friend who loves me well. I agreed with her about my need to learn to say ‘no,’ so I read your book.
In the first chapter, I saw myself in so clearly in Sherrie that it wasn’t funny. Certainly, the situations were different; I’m single and without children, my job and ministry life and family are essentially inseparable. But every time someone approached Sherrie for a favor during the day, I became uneasy, knowing that I was about to read the battle that occurs so frequently in my own mind – and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
What I’m trying to say is that you so accurately captured my struggles.
This book isn’t divided into chapters, but rather into small sections, generally one or two paragraphs long. When I drafted this post, I had read a meager three sections. (Update: I’ve finished it!)
The Journey of a Cambodian Cowboy has less than 80 pages. It has less still if you consider the fact that only half the pages are English and that it contains pictures throughout.
I expect I’ll whizz through this book really quickly, and thought I’d better stop and record my first impressions before I get too far in. (<– My words from when I drafted this post yesterday)
Earlier this week I read this post about fiction and sin. It reminded me of an old post from last year. Remember when we discussed the grey areas of reading fiction – where right and wrong aren’t immediately evident?
Some of you lovely readers made some great points. Our standards were diverse, and it was a sanctifying and edifying experience to be able to discuss our viewpoints.