Maybe in another ten years, when my kids are older, I can find enough people to have a geeky Lutheran book club to read through old, semi-forgotten Lutheran novels. Such a one may be Lars Lee.
I was intrigued for a few reasons. First, it’s free from LutheranLibrary.org, aka Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry. Second, it’s Lutheran. Third, Lutheran fiction. Fourth, I’ve been getting to know Scandanavia better through my reading lately and thought this could be just the thing for me.
But here’s the thing: I’m curious about the author and I wonder if I quite read it right.
Essentially, it’s about a pietist boy. You learn how pietism affected him within in the first book and, if you got it from Lutheran Library, you see how it affects him as an adult in the second attached piece.
I’ve been around people who have decried pietism (rightly so, I’d say). I’ve been around plenty who have joked around about pietism. For that reason I could hold up this book, and possible Nils Nilsen Ronning, as a way to learn more about pietism. Perhaps as pietists would illuminate themselves.
As for reading, it was a nice story. Poignant. Crafted. It was written well enough that I grew to care for characters. But honestly? Maybe I missed it, but it seemed to walk around the Gospel and get to it in ways that didn’t seem to quite actually give it.
It had every chance to give the Gospel. It had every chance to build up and equip. And seeing it that way is likely what led me to be disappointed. It could have been a great book. But it talked about Jesus rather than giving Him.
Jesus says come. Yes! But what of others things He said? And the power with which He still says them?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a book club could persuade me otherwise. But the Gospel wasn’t clear enough in it that I’d hand it to my daughter. Though I’d certainly say it’s a Christian book.
I’m an explicit Lutheran who believes in the means of grace. So I’ve been sort of sad and reflective after reading it. On and off, even, since I finished it a month or so again. Sigh.
Still check out the Lutheran Library. So much free stuff and with many, many names I recognize! It’s of a different tradition than mine, but your pastor may be able to point you to great titles.