Thursday, April 03, 2008

Memoirs Of An Ordinary Pastor

I guess there are a few generally observed rules when it comes to writing a biography. The subject has to be better known that the author, or at least, well known at large. The subject is normally someone who's achieved something that the world recognises. A politician, solider, actor or footballer for example. Rarely do we see a biography about someone who was hardly heard of outside his own locale. I guess another rule of book writing is that Ed will never read a book in two sittings.

Don Carson has broken, nay smashed, all these rules with this biography of his father. I think John Piper sums it up perfectly when he says 'how can the application of a Bible saturated mind (Dons), to a Bible saturated life (Toms) produce an even more helpful story to encourage pastors? Let the mind be carried on a river of love because the life is his Father's. Then add a kind of narrative creativity. That's how'. And he's spot on. Don's love for his father is evident throughout this book, his respect for his ministry and his gratitude for his life are what knit this book together.

So who was Tom Carson? As the book tells us, an 'ordinary pastor' who spent his life working and ministering in churches often smaller than 100 in Quebec. On of the many things i never knew that this book told me was how difficult a place Quebec is, and has remained for the last fifty tears. In the forties, when Tom started Quebec was dominated by Catholicism, in the early nineties when Tom died Quebec had become one of the most secular places in Canada. A swift, polarising change that never really leveled out into large scale church attendance. Both reasons keeping people away from Tom's faithful Reformed church. Even the reason that most people have heard of Tom Carson barely made waves outside his own region in his own time. Have you ever heard of T.T Shields? Or recount the story behind the foundation of Central Baptist Seminary? Exactly!

So why should you read this book? Why did i love this book. Firstly, but not most importantly, the mixture of journals and narrative make a very interesting read and show what made Tom Carson. His humility. His poverty of spirit runs through the book like water. And it's humbling. But why else? Because there are no ordinary pastors. Tom Carson was faithful until his dying day. Faithful as a husband, father, preacher, councillor and example. Faithful to His Lord and Savior until his last breath. No one's ever heard of him outside his immediate sphere of influence, and apart from this book, it's doubtful that they ever would have done. But what a crown, what a welcome awaited him after his death.

When i finished the final chapter i closed the book, and, with tears in my eyes (i don't think it's possible to read the closing paragraphs without tears in your eyes) pleaded, begged with God that i might have a life, a ministry, a heart like Tom Carson.

And thats why you should read this book.

No comments: