Friday, May 27, 2016

They Were Christians by Cristobal Krusen

Krusen has compiled several profiles of Christians who have had a great impact on the world.

Each profile is introduced and concluded with personal memories from Krusen, revealing the impact the individuals have had on his own life. He emphasizes how their faith gave meaning and purpose to their lives.

Some of the people profiled are familiar, such as Lincoln and Nightingale. Others were unknown to me, such as Dunant, instrumental in forming the Red Cross. And some were a complete surprise, such as Chiune Sigihara, a Japanese diplomat in the Japanese consulate in Lithuania during WW II. He defied his government by issuing papers that allowed many Jews to escape to safety. Some might be a little controversial, such as Frank Pais, a Cuban revolutionary.

John D. Rockefeller Sr. might be considered unusual too. His business practices were certainly questioned but he was a generous man. He gave half of his fortune to charitable causes. He felt his ability to accumulate money was a gift from God. He also felt it his responsibility to use that money for the good of his fellow man. (199)

The personal nature of Krusen's choice of people is highlighted in Frederick Douglass, a slave who became a vocal abolitionist. Krusen relates at the beginning of the profile how he and his girlfriend, being a biracial couple, were turned away from a church in Austin, Texas in 1973. He concludes the story of Douglass with his own experience in 1981 of being in a church in New York City where people of all colors were praising God.

I found that the quote from Florence Nightingale seems to sum up the determining factor in these lives. “Why, oh my God, cannot I be satisfied with the life that satisfies so many people.” (67)

This is an interesting collection of profiles of people who, because of their Christian faith, have had an impact on the world. Some might find the selection of people covered limited. Krusen's writing style is personal and engaging, making each profile worth reading.

You can download an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5.

Cristobal Krusen is a screenwriter, film director, and author who has lived and worked in Latin America, Australia, and the United States. In 1988, he founded Messenger Films, a nonprofit film production company. He studied English literature at Harvard University and film and television at NYU and the Art Center College of Design. He currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Baker Books, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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