Book Review Intro

30 03 2008

If interested, here is the introduction to a book review that I wrote. It is not a specifically Christian book, though it is written by a professed believer with a political background. I used it to evaluate concepts of God, Man, and Sin. The book is Voice of Many Crying by John Munday.

    The poor, the marginalized, the oppressed are crying out from their pain and suffering, but does anyone hear them? Is there anyone who listens to them and speaks for them before the world, bringing attention to their plight? “I have no choice, as they cry out to me to be their voice.” (3) This is the response of John Munday in his book, Voice of Many Crying, to be the voice of those crying out from Central America. The book is a narrative account of Munday’s personal journeys and interactions with the people of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and others in Central America. It is from these experiences that he writes, telling of what he has seen and heard. Over the course of “a half dozen years with more than a trip each year,” (5) Munday has seen and heard much. This is the authority with which he speaks, personal experience and interviews. Munday writes the book for the world in general, but specifically for North America as he believes that “those of us who have heard the voices of the poor cry out cannot deny that voice.” (5) His desire is to tell their story and bring it into the view of the larger public. His reason for writing is twofold. First, he has been converted from an observer of life to a participant; and second, he, having been exposed to the voices of the poor and oppressed is compelled to speak out or deny his faith.

    Munday writes an honest account of what he has seen and heard. It is difficult to relate stories about another culture without one’s own cultural biases, but Munday is clear that the purpose of his interaction “was not to preach but to listen. We never argued with anyone who spoke to us, even if what they said contradicted what we knew or thought we knew.” (24) This, I believe, is what makes Voice of Many Crying such a powerful book.
[What a challenging idea for believers!! Have you ever truly tried this…maybe concerning matters of faith, but maybe simply with your spouse…to listen, without prejudice or preconceived responses, and then maybe not even respond (unless of course you are asked to)! I find that my response usually is a defense of myself, so that I feel that I am accurately portrayed as a good guy…so sad. Perhaps more on this later.]

    The book focuses on Munday’s encounter with radical, systemic evil in Central America that is open and blatant, without apology, and the nonpartisan public that is oppressed and suffers as a result. His astounding encounters with blatant evil are only surpassed by the unique combination of joy and suffering present by those in extreme suffering, those who experience death without reason and without retribution. And so begins Munday’s conversion from an observer to a participant, being the voice of the oppressed who cry out.

    It is difficult to understand the extent of suffering known in Central America, especially during the decades of guerrilla warfare and corrupt governments. An assassination here, a few hundred innocent murdered there, the evil seems random yet it has corrupted the very fabric of society. The government makes repeated promises of peace, but itself is a corrupt machine, impersonal and uncaring towards its people. Even shadows of such a situation are unknown in the United States.





2 responses

31 03 2008

sounds like a good read.

31 03 2008

it is a decent read, and short too!

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