Greg's Reviews > Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
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Dec 06, 2007

really liked it
Read in December, 2007

This tragedy is powerful and honest. As a Christian, I take from it something a bit different than the typical interpretation. I see it as a tragedy not only for Okonkwo, but also as highlighting a tragic historic flaw of the Western Church. I am thankful for this mirror.

Achebe's honest portrayal of the first missionary highlighted aspects of the power of the gospel. The outcasts and weak were embraced and treated with dignity. Babies left to die in the Evil Forest were adopted. Beatings and mutilation were rejected. But the missionaries, particularly the second round, abandoned the very gospel that demonstrated such powerful love. The church became entangled with the government. Even more significantly, the missionaries demonstrated no sign of seeing Africans as fellow humans. This robbed the gospel of its power. The missionaries had not the ears to listen to the people and respect their community and humanity, and thus ended up destroying their society. Mr. Smith and the white men who were "Christian" hid behind the physical power inherent in their position as they exhibited clearly un-Christian behavior. This story highlights the need for Christ to penetrate not only the hearts of the so-called heathen, but the hearts of the church, as well. Imperialism is not Christian.

Achebe has done the Western Church a great service in showing us the deep racism of the West towards Africa. The easy response is that the racist church needs to go home with their offensive ''gospel''. The right response, I believe, is that the message of Christ must be shared as the good news it is - but from human to fellow human. If it is proclaimed as from civilized to uncivilized, the good news becomes its antithesis.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a great review. I really enjoyed reading a Christian perspective on this novel.


message 2: by Ruby (new)

Ruby While I am not enjoying the book...I agree with this review; you've given me a new view on it and something new to take away as a Christian!


message 3: by Ruby (new)

Ruby While I am not enjoying the book...I agree with this review; you've given me a new view on it and something new to take away as a Christian!


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