Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blink, and maybe you should miss it.

In a world composed entirely of kittens and rainbows, my first actual book review post wouldn't be of a book I didn't particularly like.

However, I set out to document my reading, and document I will -- the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, maybe not so much the ugly).

Ted Dekker's Blink of an Eye seems to have all the right ingredients: an international chase, a beautiful woman in danger, an intriguing genius surfer with charmingly scruffy blonde hair (apparently some people do have it all), and the painful challenge of melding east with west.

Miriam, a beautiful Muslim princess, is on the run to escape an arranged marriage with a cruel and evil man. The marriage is entirely a political move, an attempt for one man to gain power through the bloodline. Seth lives in a completely different world -- a world where a cute guy with an IQ of over 180 can blow people's minds but still finds nothing exciting enough to make life interesting.

Of course, their stories collide -- just as Seth begins to see stuff before it actually happens. Prophet, psychic, or just really, really gifted? The book never explicitly answers that question, choosing to leave it in the realm of the artistic ambiguous but hinting that what Seth experiences may be a form of miracle.

Which is funny, considering that Seth doesn't even believe in God when the story begins. In fact, at one point he explains that his strange psychic gift is proof that there is no God. After all, if God is who He says He is, He must be sovereign. And if God is sovereign, He must know the future. And if God knows the future, then there must only be one future. And if there is only one future, then how come Seth can see ten or twenty or a hundred possible futures that will change depending on whatever action he chooses to take?

His reasoning makes sense, and, though Seth eventually comes around to maybe acknowledging that there must be a higher power somewhere, he never again addresses his seemingly flawless no-God logic. This is a confusing enough issue for any author to leave unresolved, but from a Christian author who seems to be trying to get a point across, it's even stranger.

In fact, the point of the story is something I failed to see. I understand that some books have no point but to tell a story and tell it well. However, if you are going to write a book that proclaims a Christian message, perhaps it's best not to couch it in obscurity. Then again, is Dekker actually trying to proclaim a Christian message, or simply a message of tolerance? Miriam, a Muslim, and Seth, a kid from Christian USA, believe they can create a future together and that all they need is love. After all, love changes everything, says Dekker in his afterword.

For me, this isn't enough of a premise for a Christian book. A thrilling chase with an American hero and a Muslim damsel in distress may make for an interesting story, but if there is to be a message about God woven in through it all, at least it ought to make sense.

The only love that truly changes everything is God's love. Otherwise, it's pointless.

Blink of an Eye
Ted Dekker
Thomas Nelson, 2007
Rating: 5/10