Poisonwood Bible

I’ve been reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver at Amanda’s recommendation (warning, I might give away key factoids and plot-spoilers). I’m still not all the way finished with it and it’s been two weeks of reading it on the bus and staying up late. But it’s really good. And really difficult at the same time. It’s about a missionary family in the Congo starting in 1959. When I say difficult, I mean that the father is a southern baptist evangelist who decides to take his family to the Congo and his definition of his purpose there is to baptize everybody while totally ignoring all of their culture and way of life. He doesn’t even get to know people individually, just yells a lot about sin and repentance and damnation and baptism. It’s hard to take the, well, brutal honesty of the description of his mission – I know that for a long time many people treated missions like this, and sometimes I’d just rather forget about that. This morning as I was reading it, I was overwhelmed with the desire to hop into the book (or a boat across the ocean) and just go and hug people and sooth their pains and make everything all better. I’m not so much pulled to do the evangelism talking-about-God thing (although that could just be a result of my not having really talked to Him in quite some time, and also sometimes that just happens, I just get into conversations about Him without realizing it). I just get overwhelmed sometimes with grand dreams of compassion. Maybe… I don’t know. Like I have any clue about anything.