A Novel Every Christian Should Read
I realize that there are many Christians who are ambivalent or even opposed to Christian fiction. I've never shared that belief, because I think fiction has a way of bringing important issues to light in a way that may be impossible for straightforward treatises. But even if you are someone who eschews novels, I'd urge you to take a look at Deliver Me From Evil, a powerful and disturbing new novel written Kathi Macias, an accomplished author who also happens to be a great friend.
I've known Kathi for a few years and she has become a great friend. We also happen to be fellow New Hope authors. A few years ago, Andrea Mullins, publisher at New Hope, made a decision to launch into fiction for the first time in the history of the publishing house. But her desire was to do fiction in a way that was different, specifically fiction that fit with the ethos of New Hope, which is to be gospel-centered and mission-driven. If you've met Andrea and have been with her for more than five minutes, you'll feel her passion for missions.
Kathi Macias has led New Hope's foray into what they call "missional fiction" by writing novels that tackle tough, thorny, often controversial issues of justice. Deliver Me From Evil is the first in her second series of books entitled The Freedom Series. This book is important and powerful because it puts a human face on the scourge of human trafficking.
Before I read Deliver Me From Evil, I was aware of the human trafficking problem, but was not engaged in it. I knew it happened in places like Thailand and Africa and the Middle East, but I did not invest myself emotionally in the full scope of the problem. I had heard folks say that there is more slavery in the 21st century than at any time in history. But I have been engaged in other issues more deeply. I'm actively involved in the pro-life issue here in our community, supporting a local pregnancy center and speaking out in columns and blogs and speeches on the issue. I've also been recently engaged on the issue of immigration, working toward a biblically based, gospel and kingdom-centered approach to this issue.
But reading Deliver Me From Evil gave me a disturbing, up-close look at the horrific problem of human trafficking. Kathi Macias weaves a story of a young girl who was kidnapped from her San Diego area home and forced into sexual slavery; a girl in the Golden Triangle in Thailand. In this novel, Kathi shares the awful exploitation of young girls in excruciating, but appropriate detail. These are girls whose innocence and freedom and self-worth are bought and sold to the highest bidder by the most evil of men.
Deliver Me From Evil is written in a honest, raw, disturbing way. It's disturbing because what happens in this novel isn't made up. It happens every day, not simply in a far off place across the ocean but in our own seemingly safe neighborhoods. It happens in our own cities and towns. My own daughter is approaching seven years old. When I read about the girls in Deliver Me From Evil, my jaw becomes clenched with anger because the girls being trafficked are my own daughter's age.
I might have never read a nonfiction book on human trafficking, but reading this well-written novel that reveals real-world crimes has motivated me to do what I can to be a part of the solution. In fact, this year our family is giving a donation to International Justice Mission, who fights human trafficking.
I think this book may do for the issue of human trafficking what Randy Alcorn's book, Safely Home, did for the cause of persecuted believers in China. Frankly, this an issue in which the Church has been way ahead of the politicians and the media. I pray that those of us who work to fight abortion and HIV/AIDS virus add human trafficking to their portfolio of causes. IJM quotes National Geographic, which estimates that there are 27 million people living in slavery today. The U.S. State Department estimates that there are 600,000 to 800,000 children, women, and men trafficked across international borders every year — up to 50 percent of them are minors.
I plan on writing about this issue more. But I think reading Deliver Me From Evil is an important first step.