Monday, May 9, 2016

In His Place - Harry C. Griffith

GENRE: Christian Fiction Suspense
PUBLISHER: Shiloh Run Press
Number of Pages:  288

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(From the back cover)
Charles Sheldon’s WWJD? Was a significant challenge in its time, but God calls us to do more than wait until we are facing a decision and then choose to do what we think Jesus would do.  We are to incarnate Christ in our time, being conscious of the presence and power of God within us in all of our thoughts and actions.

This is what pastor Steve Long wants his congregation to understand.  When Long challenges his prominent but self-satisfied congregation to become a living force for Christ in their small North Georgia town, he is blindsided by personal trials – including push-back from the church leadership and his son’s teenage rebellion.  Responding to Christ’s command “As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” guided by the Holy Spirit and strengthened by the support of a friend who is not a practicing Christian, Pastor Long tackles these difficult situations – and more – over a tumultuous week of trials and testing and ultimately learns (as he leads) what it means to walk In His Place.

Wow.  Never before has a book grabbed me so tightly from the start, and not let go until the very last page.  Griffith lays it all out in the beginning, holding nothing back.  The subject matter is something we all have seen at some point in our churches, but rarely is it talked about or discussed.  In His Place is a moving novel that is sure to inspire readers to reevaluate how they view others within their own church (and outside of the church as well). 

Well written and expertly laid out, Griffith tells the story over a week’s time.  The characters and their backgrounds are carefully and wonderfully shared, at times it’s difficult to remember that only a few short days have passed over the telling.  There are key players that emerge right from the start, but even those in the crowd (or congregation) have their own place and story to tell. 

While some of the congregation’s actions may seem extreme, it’s not a shock to see Christians behave in such a manner.  Let’s be real for a moment…often time’s non-believers are put off by the hypocrisy they believe they see within the church.  Life is hard; sometimes we (as Christians) let our emotions get the better of us and react to situations in a non-Christ like way.  But that is what forgiveness is about…and I love how Griffith tackled this matter by the end of the novel!

While this could seem to be a novel to leave one feeling guilt ridden and uneasy, I don’t believe that was Griffith’s intent when writing the story.  Bringing awareness to the church and shedding some light on a sensitive subject, this is a novel that can teach and encourage, and right a few wrongs.  Whether read as an entertaining fiction novel, or pondered more deeply and viewed as a modern day crisis novel, In His Place is a story that Christ’s followers will want to read and discuss with their peers.  This could very well be the next big thing to remind the church to step aside and put themselves in to another’s shoes.

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**

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