Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Child's Play by Bill Myers

It is fifty years in the future and religion has been banned. The scene is the Sisco Heights Mental Health Facility and the characters are wacky. There is a new inmate, Max, who is convinced God exists – he has experienced Him. It started with a fortune cookie that read, “You are my favorite child. God.”

This is the quirkiest book I think I have ever read. The characters are a riot. One talks to inanimate objects and they talk back to him. Another thinks he is a superhero. Their actions are really crazy. Usually their conversations are too, but sometimes turn intensely serious. An example is a discussion about believing in the reality of only what can be seen. “That means you only believe in six percent of reality,” a patient says, noting scientists and their Dark Matter and Dark Energy. (132)

The new inmate, Max, is sort of a God figure in that he knows the secrets of one woman's life and breathes life into another who has been dead for two hours.

While much of the book is entertaining, I did have some issues with it. Each chapter is written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. Some chapters are from the viewpoints of the various patients in the facility. Others are from the viewpoint of the doctor treating them, from Max's daughter who is a fashion corporate executive, and from a dumpster diving homeless woman. I found the multitude of viewpoints and the frequent change rather disconcerting.

I also have a serious issue with the theology presented in the book. God's on our side. One, big, happy family. God is not concerned about placing blame on us, but rather upgrading us. “Who exactly are these children of His?” “If He's God, who isn't?” (80-81) The characters make it sound like everyone is a child of God. There is no sense of God's judgment or need for salvation presented. There is a sense of sin as the patients write bad things they have done during the day and throw the list in the trash, but there is nothing about Jesus dying for that sin.

Another theological concept with which I take issue is identifying what we need. “But if we just know Him, if all we do is experience Him to our core … that's more than we'll ever need.” (134) That might be a nice experience, but we need salvation through Jesus. I am disappointed that the gospel is not presented well at all.

This novel was an entertaining read, in a quirky way. Just do not expect it to accurately reflect man's need for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Bill Myers is a writer and producer. He has won more than 70 national and international awards. You can find out more at www.billmyers.com.

Amaris Media International, 312 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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