By André Leferge
After reading André’s previous book, Touching Smyrna, I went to Burkina Faso and, in the process, met many of the real people who make up the characters in that story and it’s continuation in the book you now hold. André captures the spirit of these real people on their journeys of transformation of submitting themselves to Christ. It was life-transforming for me to see the spiritual riches given to those who seek Jesus.
Perhaps troubling to the reader will be André’s writing on the shallowness of many in the Church and on the life of physical oppression experienced by many followers of Christ around the world. Regarding the latter, the suffering of Christians because they are followers of Christ challenges the foundations of a faith grown in the protection of the western State. Our ability to protest a public corporation because we do not like how their policies line up with our faith starkly contrasts with the daily experience of a low caste “untouchable” in India with few state-guaranteed rights, perhaps none of which are protected in reality.
Likewise, how we make sense of the experience of Christians who are oppressed directly relates to the depth we will allow Jesus to take us. In a globalized economy, my decisions impact people around the world. Can I protest an organization’s domestic human resources decision without protesting that they make their profit through foreign exploited workers? These are topics that cut straight to our identity. No wonder we squirm.
André does not write to either of these topics to judge. Instead, I know it to be the opposite. He loves Jesus, he loves the Church, and he is uniquely positioned to bring to light to us a faith that is radically clinging to Jesus. We are challenged and instructed beautifully in a story form that makes accessible harsh realities and the truth of the Gospel. He would be delighted with our squirming, but exponentially more delighted if that squirming lead to a life more full of justice and righteousness.
I leave you with the two questions that confronted me as I read Seeing Laodicea. Where do I see myself in this story? How firmly am I clinging to Jesus, wherever that takes me?
May you be challenged and transformed to be more like Jesus.
Andy Lyde (C.E.O. Amor Ministries)