Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Other Side of Darkness by Melody Carlson

Although I started out reading the True Colours series, I'm slowly branching out into the various books that Melody Carlson has written. So far, this is the darkest, and perhaps one of her best.

The Other Side of Darkness follows Ruth, a mom who tries to be a prayer warrior for her family. Now, that isn't a bad thing - it is, in fact, really good, but the problem is that she's being manipulated into a small, rather close-minded sect. As the reader, it was pretty obvious that the Pastor and his groupies were unChristian and bad news, but to Ruth, who was treated badly by her mother (no physical abuse, but her sister and brother were clearly favoured), this acceptance from them is addictive. She's tricked into giving her money (money that her family doesn't have), her time, and as it goes on, her whole life - she's really consumed by it.

Ruth is someone who's also suffering from OCD, which adds a layer of complexity to the story. And as she spirals downwards, you can see how her her family is getting hurt by her actions.

For me this book was sobering. I'm lucky to have been in some wonderful Churches, but clearly, there are many Churches that are just using Christianity as a front for their own gain. And the ones who are most vulnerable are the ones that need Christ the most.

This is not a sunny, happy book. It's a dark book that shows us that Churches are not always the safe habors that we imagine them to be. They can be used for evil, and I think we should be on our guard against them.

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