Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Book of 7 Truths – Calvin Miller

© 1997, HarperSanFransisco (an imprint of HarperCollins), New York

Calvin Miller is one of my faith heroes. He is also what is as close to a renaissance man to walk the ground in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He is a poet, writer, and artist. He has also been everything from a pastor to a professor in the realm of Christian life. Several years ago, he penned this little treasure—a story within a story.

Narrator Antón Beaufort recounts the events surrounding the loss of his legs at the age of ten. Those events were complicated by the Great Depression which pressured his parents to move the small family from their Louisiana farm to the jobless factories of Chicago and the north. The promise of work and sustenance eludes the family and throws them into the path of Hajji Rhovee—an old turbaned doctor who appears in their lives only to leave copies of a little red book. In the book, is the story of Hajji’s youth. A tale that encourages and challenges people of the Christian faith what their faith is all about. The seven truths:

  1. Follow Only the Guide Who’s Been Where You Want to Go
  2. The Task Ahead of You Is not as Great as the Power within You
  3. You Cannot Help People if You Are Always with People
  4. Happiness Is a Choice, Misery Is an Option
  5. Wisdom Lives Only on the Far Side of Pain
  6. Never Love Life More Than the Reason It Was Given to You
  7. Stop Living Only When You Die

As tales go, the story within the story is the more compelling of the two tales. The occasion for the retelling of Hajji’s journey to help a village he did not want to help is more predictable and serves simply as the opportunity to hear the real story—Hajji’s story. If all you read is the chapters in which Hajji’s little red book is recorded, you’ll be glad you did. Find a copy of The Book of 7 Truths and enjoy.

4½ out of 5 reading glasses.

—Benjamin Potter, January 27, 2011

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