Jaymie Starr's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Jul 05, 11

bookshelves: missionaries, war, fiction, africa
Read from July 02 to 04, 2011

This book kept catching my eye at work and I finally bought it one day after about 3-4 months (it takes me a while to make decisions). I think this is an excellent read if a person is ever planning to go to another nation and try to make it "better". Sometimes what we think is better is not necessarily better or even helpful. The example of what happened to the Kingdom of the Kongo is truly a sad, yet perfect example of what not to do. The story focuses primarily on a family at which the head of is a father who is bound and determined, do or die, going to bring his little village to Christ (or his idea of God), no matter what the costs. Even if his family is lost in the process, even if people die, even if he doesn't actually help anyone at all. His premise of who God is and what His character is like is simply wrong from the get-go, so the whole mission is really set up for failure. It's not a reflection of a "cruel" or "unjust" God but really human misconception in the true nature of the Creator. I think at one time even the African's understood this being better than we sometimes do, but over time, voodoo and other ritualistic ideas became a part of their belief system as well. I liked this being from a non-Christian perspective about God and missions, the Bible, etc. It helped me to think beyond the norm & my regular thought process. I don't think this book is for everyone as there are some intensely tragic scenes including death of children as well as some other very intense scenes that leave impressions. Cultural context is something that missionaries have more recently figured out in the past 50 years or so, but was something that was almost entirely lacking from mission efforts for hundreds even thousands of years, aside from a few such as, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, etc. It's easy to take things out of context quickly especially in the name of "God", which history only has shown us time and time again.
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Alisa Good summary Jaymie. I also really liked this book and think its a good read for overseas missionaries!


Jaymie Starr I very much agree!! :)


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