Wisdom of the Sadhu: A Book Review for Plough Publishers

sadhuWisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh  –  Compiled and Edited by Kim Comer

I had never heard of Sundar Singh, but when I read that a young man from a devote Hindu family became one of the leaders of Christianity during the first half of the last century, I wanted to read more. He was not known as a systematic theologian, an apologist or an evangelist. He was simply a personal teacher, an Indian holy man who just happened to be a Christian, but his teachings captured the attention of the world. This book contains snippets of conversations, books, articles and conversations with others who knew him.

The book gives example after example of Sundar Singh’s thoughts, interpretations and beliefs. I will share three of them to show the richness of his God-given discourse. He tells the story of a woman praying to God to cleanse her heart as she was sweeping cobwebs from her house to get her house clean. She was frustrated when, the very next day, the cobwebs had all returned. Sadhu explained, “You will always have cobwebs until you get rid of the spiders. In the same way your heart will continually need cleansing until you get rid of the sin that makes it unclean.”

In teaching people how important their witness is in the world, Sundar Singh spoke of the deep sea creatures that shine their lights in the deepest depths of the ocean and the fireflies who shine their lights throughout the darkest jungle nights. Nature, he implied, teaches us to shine.

The story that meant the most to me, however, was the story of the Sadhu and his guide trekking through the Himalayan SnowMountains. They were making good time until a snow storm blew up bringing with it bitter cold and wind and they were still many miles from the nearest village. They proceeded along slowly, the numbing cold making them wonder if they would make it in time. Along the way they found a man lying in the snow, unable to continue against the wind and snow. Sadhu knelt by the man to help him when the guide said, “We can not take this man with us or we will all die.” Sadhu ignored the guide and proceeded to make preparations to take the man with him. The guide ran off toward the village on his own. Sadhu struggled with the man on his back, but he trudged along little by little. Hours later he could see the lights of the village! He knew he was going to make it. Just outside of town, however, he saw the guide lying frozen in the snow. He knew he had made it because of the heat of the man on his back. Sadhu taught, “This is the way of service. No one can live without the help of others, and in helping others we receive help ourselves.”

Wisdom of the Sadhu will bring depth of vision to anyone who reads it, but will most certainly bring the Christian reader refreshment. Although the narrative is not always engaging, I found that the nuggets to be found were well worth the panning.

There is freedom in Christ,

Dawn

When gay meant carefree

Yesterday I began to talk about what happens when people twist the meaning of the Scriptures. The first recorded instance of a change in what God spoke happened in the Garden of Eden when Eve changed what God had told Adam about the tree whose fruit they should not eat. I asked my readers to tell a time when they had such an experience and I hope to see some responses in the comment section. I have to go to work, but I will be back near midnight and I hope to have some good examples by then.

My example happened between me and two religion professors at a college I once worked for. The one professor firmly believed that the scriptures that spoke against same-sex sexual relationships did not mean they were sinful. She went to great lengths to take apart the words that were used in the verses that seemingly condemned homosexuality to show that we had lost the original intent of the verses. The second professor, a scholar in both Hebrew and Greek, and expert in the Old Testament told her, kindly and gently that the words DID mean what they said and that the Scriptures repeatedly condemned the practice of same-sex sexual relationships. At the time of this discussion we had several students that were struggling with their own sexual orientation and sought the advice of said professors. Alas, they did not get a clear answer and that, my friends, is a travesty! God makes Himself plain in nature and Paul tells us that “God gave them up to vile affections; for even their women did exchange the natural use for  that which is against nature and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman; burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly,” Romans 1:26,27a,b.

Verse 25 says they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie,” which takes us back to Eve. Satan is a liar and a slick liar at that. He only has to twist 5% of the truth and keep the other 95% intact and he is able to fool most of us. Only those who have their armor on will be able to stand. Hear this:

Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart…Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the [ingenious strategies] of the devil.  Hebrews 4:17,18 and 6:10,11

The rest of chapter 6 in Hebrews describes the armor we need to put on. Be sure you do it. It’s tough out there!

Clanging to work,

Dawn