In this compelling novel that mirrors church scandals in the news today, Jim, a middle-aged bank manager, is torn between a desire to believe the best and suspicion resulting from an apparent indiscretion by his popular young pastor Dave.
|Product dimensions:||6.39(w) x 8.03(h) x 0.66(d)|
About the Author
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The only way to understand this book is to read it for yourself. Personally, this was not my favorite. I actually did not finish it, but stopped about half way through. To me, the first quarter of the book was when Jim sees Dave with an unknown woman and spends the next six or seven chapters debating whether or not he is going to confront Dave. The next quarter of the book is the actual confrontation. I could not get hooked on this book. I read Christian Fiction myself to escape reality and get inspired by the miraculously good in some people's hearts. This story is too realistic and full of pain for me. It is not an escape, but a realistic reminder that even pastors make mistakes. This book for me, was just not my cup of tea.
The premise of Fallen is a simple one. Jim, a long time church member and chairman of the church board sees his Dave, his young, married pastor in a vehicle with another woman. He asks his pastor what is going on, and what he finds leads him to dig deeper into the matter. What he uncovers however is not so simple. It leads not only to the exposure of beliefs that subtly undermine the orthodoxy of Christianity but also to an investigation of areas of personal weakness in Jim¿s own life.Author Matthew Raley has written this book from inside of Jim¿s head, which is an unusual point of view for an author to take. As a result, much of this book is cerebral ¿ readers spend a lot of time walking through Jim¿s thought processes, through his voyage of discovery, through the logic he uses to determine if the actions of his pastor were justified.There is a lot of dialogue as Jim and Dave dance around each other. Dave attempts to stand his ground and keep his standing while Jim jabs at Dave and attempts to uncover areas of weakness. This was a bit harder to follow than your average novel because so much of what is happening is verbal and mental.The action in this novel also takes place over a very short period of time and it all revolves around the process of discovery, the process of dealing with the aftermath, negotiating the church politics (Raley is a senior pastor himself, so this is realistic writing).All that said, Fallen isn¿t written in the style of a typical novel. It is more of a voyage of discovery and exploration within the realm of Christian norms and orthodoxy with a splash of personal revelation thrown in. It won¿t be for everyone ¿ I¿m not even sure it was entirely for me ¿ but it was an interesting read, and a bit of an unexpected one at that.Reviewed at quiverfullfamily.com
The author has a character say "You don't know how vicious church people are." but you can certainly get an idea of it in this weakly contrived novel, wherein a pastor is seen exiting a vehicle being driven by a woman not his wife. The chairman of the church board sees this as an opportunity to open an investigation on the pastor, and the author justifies this by throwing in a variety of offenses that the pastor has committed. In essence, he justifies this viciousness by making the pastor a man with secrets. But wherein does joining a church give the fellow parishioners, even the church board, the right to look into your life? Shouldn't they be concerned with their own souls? I think it is one of the facets that keeps people away from joining churches. The novel itself is so contrived to make the author's point that I could not take it seriously.
Matthew Raley has written a courageous, timely novel about a church chairman who discovers his popular pastor may be involved in an adulterous relationship, only to find the truth is that and worse. At once a compelling read, a lesson on husbandry, a study of church leadership, and a gospel primer, this novel will be valuable for pastors, church leaders, and laypersons. Anyone involved with biblical counseling in these matters should add it to their homework assignment list. This is not a perfect novel, as Jim's introspections are a little overdone at points. But Raley is an excellent writer, and his gift with language even makes these passages easy to read. As for the matter of 'closure' that some reviewers see as missing: this work is excellent fodder for discussions among church leadership and in adult fellowship groups. For this novel to be most useful, the closure issues need to be raised and addressed by its readers. I recommend that group leaders assign this book, then develop a list of questions and observations that can help guide their study and application.