Author: James David Jordan
Title: "Something That Lasts"
On the outside, Rev. David Parst has it all: a loving family, a thriving church, an adoring congregation. He's the epitome of a ministry success story: a man with integrity, a heart to serve the Lord, and savvy business sense.
On the inside, however, a growing uncertainty troubles him. Caught up in his success, stuck in a rut from the daily grind of ministry, he wonders if he was meant for more than the humble calling of a pastor, that he's missing a far more exciting, daring life. For one moment, he allows his guard to fall, feeding selfish desires rather than holy ones. In his pride, he neglects his faithful, dutiful wife Sarah, and discounts the potential damage to the one person who idolizes him more than anyone, his son Jack. The great Deceiver rushes in, Rev. Parst falls from grace, and commits a tragic mistake that reverberates for several generations to come.
"Something That Lasts" is James David Jordan's first novel, and it touches all the right heartstrings. It's difficult to read at times, especially if someone you know has suffered through the tragedy of adultery and been witness to the lasting damage it causes. "Something That Lasts" gives a realistic warning to men about the legacy we leave behind for our children, and it reaches out to women who've been hurt by adultery. Also, true to the tagline on the book's back cover – "A Power That Reaches Across the Generations" – it shows that even though time doesn't always heal all wounds, the tender mercy of a loving Savior can.
The novel does suffer some pitfalls in areas. Jordan creates some very poignant, touching snapshots along the way, but they don't always link up to a fulfilling story. The storyline spans almost thirty years, and some vital parts that could've been very interesting are passed over simply for the sake of fitting everything into one book, which fosters a lack of depth in some places. The work would've perhaps been better if the storyline's span was shortened somewhat, zooming in closer on a few incidents, rather than giving a broad panorama that's promising but ultimately a little unfulfilling.
Also, the plotting feels scripted, formulaic, something very safe and "expected": pastor is tempted by success, cheats on wife, does his penance while his son withdraws from God, and years later the whole incident replays in the son's life, teaching him a lesson, and the father and son are ultimately reconciled. It would've been far more interesting for the wife to be unfaithful, and examine things from the flip-flopped perspective - true, it's rarer, but by that account not nearly talked about as much, nor used as frequently by writers and screenwriters. And, this is somewhat daring to say, because it's a risky thing to try and make a reader sympathize with an adulterer ... but Rev. Parst falls too easily, the blame solely attributed to his pride. In life, things are rarely that cut and dried.
All in all, however, "Something That Lasts" is a good read - a panoramic view of God using even a tragic mistake to bring about His will, and a sobering reminder of the horrible consequences of sexual sin – especially those extending past just ourselves, but to those we love.
© 2006 Infuze Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission.