Review: Neighbors and Wise Men, Sacred Encounters In A Portland Pub and Other Unexpected Places by Tony Kriz
Author: Tony Kriz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson September 18, 2012
Labels: Biography, Testimony
Rating: 4 Stars - Very Good
Tony Kriz with youthful vigor and passion became a missionary in eastern Europe. His ministry was with the Muslims that lived in Albania. His determination bordering on obsession was to prove himself as a Christian missionary. His gusto was short lived. It had been all about what he wanted to accomplish. He burned out. He was sent back home to attend seminary in Oregon. As a missionary he’d expected to bring the Gospel message to people who needed the hope of Christ Jesus. Back at home in Oregon he began to frequent a pub, who’s regulars ministered to him in unexpected encounters.
Tony’s story is candid. He speaks from his heart about a period in his life when he had doubts about his belief in Jesus and Christianity. He felt plagued by guilt. And he had no idea where to go next in his life. He was tired, worn-out, life for him was flat and gray. Little by little during these “sacred encounters” in the pub, he began to get his bearings again. During this slow process he felt a kinship with those that were considered outsiders by the Church. He learned to listen to their stories. He saw past their outward appearance. He was touched by their heart. These lessons would translate into the next chapter of a plan God had for him.
Above all else Tony’s story is one of heart-felt honesty. He expresses thoughts and fears that many of us have had, but feel uncomfortable saying aloud.
He uncovers himself, and at times I wondered if he felt a bit too revealing, being so naked and transparent before his reading audience.
This is a book that will give pause to the reader. To question their own priority for a given mission, or goal, or life testimony. A further question would be who’s servant are we really? Our self? Or the Lord?
His story is not dramatic in emotion. It is a slow pacing of his testimony about his naiveté, doubts, fears, and the slow return carrying with him knowledge and wisdom from his journey.
My over-all feelings on this book is positive. I found it to be refreshing and approachable. I enjoyed reading a story that was not par for the course as many Christian books are. The author wrote about people that are not in the comfort zone for Christians, and yet these people ministered to him and he learned from them.
The only negative point I have is the author seems to me to be a reserved kind of guy, some readers may not be as pleased with a personality that is subdued. I’m hoping readers will look past this and see the hidden gems inside.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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