I always seem to wait until the last minute to write these, but I find it important to keep working through with these.
The next book on this list might be one of the weirdest for me. It was one of the first books I read after a 3 year hiatus from college. I read this book for a literature class and I both hated myself and loved the story it told. Of course, I am talking about Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
I don’t remember character specifics, as I read this 15 years ago (next month), but the story focuses on a small tribe and focuses on the leader of the tribe. As this leader is establishing himself a group differently colored people start evangelizing near his tribe. They talk about a new way of living and a new god to serve.
Tribe members that were considered outcasts receive opportunity to belong with these colored people. They start destroying the icons in the most sacrilegious of ways. If another group can come and destroy your gods, doesn’t that mean you are serving the wrong gods? Seeing these happenings, the tribe starts questioning their core values and the direction that their chief is taking them. Ultimately, the chief gets frustrated that he has failed his tribe and commits the ultimate act of failure and hangs himself from a tree.
A white historian documenting the colonization of this country sees the chief hanging and considers adding it to the archives. After a bit of recording, the historian decides the story is not worth keeping – too many other things of higher importance.
When I read this book, I dreaded it. I generally do not like books that are assigned in English and Literature classes. I always feel they are great examples of why people do not read.
This book was different. Maybe for the first time I saw how many other counties see colonization. It actually started a change to my thoughts in regards to evangelism. I used to think I could just force people to agree with me mentally to whatever argument then they were evangelized to my way of thinking. I might have used logic or brute force. But the goal was to win.
Now, with the help of this book, I really try to learn from those I’m with. Sure, I am still trying to unravel my habits on colonizing others. But I do listen. I find that people who believe things completely different than me have reasons that make sense to them. Though I disagree with them, I can start to make sense of it as well. Sometimes, my conversation partner sees flaws in their thinking and change and sometimes I do. More times than not, neither of our thinking changes, but we understand each other better.
This is a great book that has won awards and stuff so read it already. Unless you don’t want to. Seriously, though, read it. Please? Okay.