Whitaker House - Nonfiction/Memoir/Religion - Christian
Jim Maxim was already hitting bottom by 18. Addicted to alcohol, a frequent user of drugs, he chose to return to a party after friends drove him home. They knew he was too drunk to safely drive himself, but Jim thought he was fine.
He never made it to the party. Instead, a devastating car accident left him with a broken jaw, wired shut, and a face torn from the jagged glass of his windshield. While on the operating table, he saw two demons and then . . . the face of Jesus. When he awakened, Jim knew his life had to change. Face to Face with God is his story.
Face to Face with God is a two-part memoir. The first portion is about the author's early addiction, the accident that changed his life and his early years as a Christian. The second part is all about witnessing and contains numerous stories of the author's experiences, plus plenty of talk about God's love and forgiveness and how to receive it.
I really enjoyed the first part of the book, in particular, because I like reading stories about major changes/disasters and how they led to a dramatic change in a person's life. The latter half was interesting but, at times, tiresome. If you're already a Christian, you'll enjoy the stories but might feel a little irritated that the author feels you should be willing to talk as openly about Christ as he is. He admits he has the gift of evangelism, that he's naturally comfortable talking to strangers about God (although he's made plenty of mistakes and been told to lay off, especially in the early years). So, it seemed a little odd that he didn't acknowledge the fact that some people are just not able to minister in the same way. This is actually something I've talked to Christian friends about at length, but it still made me uncomfortable.
The bottom line:
A nicely-written book about the accident that changed a man's life and how he has used his own experience to bring others to Christianity. Recommended, but be aware that the second half is a little heavy-handed and some may consider it preachy; others may find it's just a little tiresome, although the stories are enjoyable.
Things to think about:
It's fascinating to me that the author believes he saw Jesus while unconscious. I think I would be tempted to write such an experience off as either a vision or dream. In the same vein, though, I have a friend whose life changed dramatically when she looked up at a digital clock while drug-addled, in the middle of the night, and saw the face of Jesus. Regardless of whether or not you believe there was really a visitation by Christ of some sort, I do think it's fascinating to read or hear about how such an experience can completely change a person's life. Face to Face with God is worth reading for the before and after, alone. It's really quite amazing how dramatically a person can change.
You can read a free chapter of Face to Face with God, here.
Your photo of the day:
A church seems apropos to this particular post. Here, the steeple of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London at dusk. I'm guessing that gray thing is a lightning rod? I've never noticed it, before.
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