Monday, January 17, 2011


So, I have joined the ranks of those who can read electronically. For Christmas, I received a Kindle. Actually, it was a combined gift for both my wife and me, but I imagine I will get the most use from it. The books she reads – and she reads a lot – are readily available at the library.

The 1st book I read on my Kindle was Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. I had meant to purchase the book after Christmas, but thought that this might be a good way to test drive the device. I must admit that I enjoyed reading this book on the Kindle. But, it is a great book that I would have enjoyed reading in any form. I couldn’t wait to snatch a few moments to read.

Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a member of the US Olympic track team in 1936. It is a story of human endurance in the most desperate of conditions. As a bombardier in a B-24, his aircraft crashed in the Pacific. He endured nearly a month and a half at sea in shark infested waters. Finally spotting land, he came ashore and was immediately made a prisoner of war by the Japanese. The trials spent as a POW made the hardships of shipwreck pale in comparison. Without disclosing all of the details, Billy Graham’s famous crusade in Los Angeles in 1948 makes a significant contribution to the end of the story.

Zamperini’s treatment as a POW speaks volumes about human depravity and the power of hope. That the Japanese could so brutalize their prisoners and that the Nazi’s could deal so inhumanly with Jews, Slavs, and all they considered to be inferior, testifies to the Biblical doctrine of total depravity. As the book shows, not all of Zamperini’s captors were harsh and brutal. In fact, after the war he went to Japan to try to locate one who claimed to be a Christian and treated him with dignity. Yet, as I read this book, I took these thoughts away for further development:

• Unlike John Lennon who accused religion of being the chief propagator of warfare in history, it was non-Christians, both in Germany and Japan (not to mention Russia) who were the most sadistic and inhumane.

• What was going on in the world that at the same time in history, such brutality could emerge in both Europe and Asia?

• Germany and Japan were both civilized and technologically advanced societies. Yet their achievements did not save them from themselves. Our culture and society likewise cannot save us from ourselves. The remedy for depravity is not found in education, politics, or economics. It is found in the gospel of Christ.

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