Faith under fire

Faith under fire: what the Middle East conflict has taught me about God.
Andrew White
Monarch, £8.99, Pbk.;160p., ISBN 978-1854249623

To win the Ultimate Christian Library award, a book must grab the average non-Christian reader at first sight. This year’s winner, Andrew White’s, does this and more, gripping the reader from its very first word. Andrew’s journey unfolds from successful medical career to life in St. George’s courtyard in the Red Zone (unprotected area) of Baghdad. He’s shot at, kidnapped, targeted by extremists, surrounded by security guards, grieves over members of his ‘flock’ murdered for their faith – in the words of the title, living literally and metaphorically under fire.

His engaging and straightforward style in sharp contrast to the dramatic and moving stories he relates, makes them even more telling. It is the story of a man clearly directed by God, who recognises His ‘other plans’ as he moves from medicine to ministry, obeying each new call, spiritual and political. This is risk taking faith lived out on the edge, and, by a man undeterred by the physical limitations of MS. It is a calling prepared to engage with ‘nasty people’ in his work for reconciliation.

It is also the story of an amazing church, St. George’s, and its ministry of care for the practical aspects of life in a war zone – medical help, dental care, groceries, security and sanctuary. A church which experiences miracles, which sees signs and wonders, as God works in extreme situations in extraordinary ways. It demonstrates that ‘when Jesus is all we have left, then that is all we need’

This book meets all the criteria for the Award, as a nail biting story of one man’s adventures for God. It is also a wake up call to us as Western Christians, in that faith which shows a miracle working God is not developed in safe places, or under few challenges.

Clear language, clear faith, strongly and simply stated – a book to read, and recommend.

Contributed by: D. Margaret Keeling, BA, MA, MCLIP, PhD, who is CLIS President and worked until her retirement as Head of Services for Libraries, Culture and Adult Community Learning for Essex County Council.