CFBA Blog Tour: The Heir

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Michael Card – Immanuel
via FoxyTunes    Let me make a confession. I cry at sad movies, even when I know I’m being emotionally manipulated, or if my logical half of my brain tells me what I’m watching is tripe. But it has been a long time since a book made me cry.

Or at least it had been. Author Paul Robertson just changed that

The pages of The Heir drip despair, and from a young man most would expect to be fairly happy. As we meet him, Jason Boyer is inheriting billions from a man who shipped him off to boarding schools upon remarrying after the death of Jason’s mother. Jason has so little emotional attachment to his parents, that this first person narrator calls father, mother, and step-mother all by first name (which experience tells me some readers will find quite confusing)

Step by step, the author shows us the reason for Jason’s despair, as he struggles against the temptations that come with the power and influence of his inheritance. We see a man, and many of those around him, dying inside as they gain the world.

In terms of the craft, his narrator’s voice is excellent, and though you can get away with more of it in first person, even the most fascinating voice becomes dull if you listen to it long enough, and at times Robertson may have pushed the envelope a tad too far. Likewise, he captures his narrator’s thought processes quite well, with only the occasional “I wondered” rather than the actual question, but conversely, at times he captured it too well, and slipped tenses from past to present without italicizing as is typical. I found this jarring, and felt concern some readers may find the change confusing, but on the same token, it’s possible it could slide right by without a bump with an untrained eye.

The central characters are not Christians, so the reader can expect a tiger to be true to his stripes. I’d have been surprised by the title from a Christian publisher, except it illustrates scriptural teachings about money and power quite vividly, and in the process speaks directly to the heart of the affluent AmericanChurch, and secondarily, the whole of our society, even the poor. Some are poor through no fault of their own, and most in this group will reverse their situation in time. Most in perpetual financial straights remain poor because they live like the Boyers without their capital—for instance, spending the grocery money on leasing a brand new car, in order to impress their neighbors, who made a similar dumb economic choice last month.

As a society, we are hungry, and we think the more stuff we acquire, the more we will fill the hole inside us that God used to fill. Precisely why some will hate The Heir. And why it’s needed.

On a related note, one thing did disturbed me about the book: the political situation in it. This is not the author’s fault, as it disturbs me because I fear it may be accurate, and that all too many conservative Christians reading this will be inclined to respond by staying home on election day, which solves nothing, and in fact makes things worse. Sadder yet are those who stay home, not in some childish and ineffective protest, but because they have bought into the lie that ceding territory to the Enemy will somehow bring about our final victory (and Christ’s return) sooner. This defies both logic and scriptural injunction to stay on the front lines until he gets here, in His own words, “occupy till I come.”

The right response to the allegations The Heir makes about our elections being rigged and manipulated by powerful Kingmakers is to turn off the television, cancel our newspaper subscription (as both, as the author points out, are used to manipulate us), and learn to vote and think for ourselves. Better still, to get politically involved, and fight to restore our republic.

But quitting and staying home are far easier. So we tell ourselves Christians don’t belong in politics, that it’s a dirty business, and that God didn’t mean it when he promised our spiritual forefather Abraham in Genesis 22:17 that we would possess the gates of our enemies (the gates were the center of politics and city government.) Christians belong in politics for precisely all the reasons commonly cited (by us) to stay out.

It’s a shame upon the Household of God, that He gives us the promise of final victory no matter how futile our cause may seem in the natural, and we turn it around to excuse our laziness!