Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Matthew Raley's Fallen ~ Reviewed

Matthew Raley
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (February 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825435757


As Jim finishes a long day at work, his gaze lands on an expensive car pulling up to the coffee shop visible from his office window. His jaw dropped when the attractive young woman behind the wheel stops her car...and out steps his young, married pastor, Dave. Jim wants to give Dave the benefit of doubt, but as chairman of his church board Jim feels duty-bound to confront him. But as he begins to explore his pastor's private life, will be be able to handle the truth that he uncovers?

My Review:

What a tangled web I read. ..Wow.

Fallen grabbed me immediately and did not let go until the final silken strand. Matthew Raley has written a book that may need to become part of seminary curriculum. Maybe Fallen should be required reading for elder or deacon boards. Without heavy discussions regarding theological ideology, or overwhelming use of scripture, Raley manages to wind the reality of truth around cheap grace, religiousity, legalism, licentiousness, grace, forgiveness and accountability. And pride gets the life sucked out of it.

Two male characters from different circumstances and generations interact with affection, wariness, concern and pain. I found myself agonizing with Raley's main character ,Jim while he got more entangled with his own thoughts as well as the series of facts and perceived realities. I have been Jim, and I dare say I've been a Dave.
I know many will think this is a story about dangerous pastors, but don't miss the point that wound its way around my heart. Our lives are woven and God doesn't miss a stitch. He'll use whatever means to make sure my life is one that glorifies Him. No matter how painful or costly, God will shape the ones He loves and died for.

This story is overtly Christian. But with an honest look at religion vs. relationship and enough mind games to entice readers who don't claim Christianity but love cat and mouse games. I'd suggest it to anyone who has ever been burned in church politics, too.

Raley is a new author to watch. I'm looking forward going to get my hands on his next novel. I hope it will be soon.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

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