A Global Mirror
God knows, I sincerely enjoyed reading and reviewing Lakisha Johnson‘s book. The characters remind this reader of too many familiar others, albeit, her characters were difficult to imagine. Johnson is a good storyteller! Her tone and pace meld well with the tone she sets from one scene to the next.
On the first impression, I’m happy to find a Christian author/church pastor with more than a dozen books published under her belt. I’m thrilled she is one of the UBAWA’s top 100 authors. Her writing speaks to real-life marital and family relationships in a down-to-earth-African-American style, using prayer and the word of God to anchor her forward driven character narratives. It is apparent (to this blogger/book reviewer) that Johnson’s target audiences consist of Bible-believing-church-going-carnal-minded Christians, and it’s clear to me that she writes for the pleasures of her readers.
Throughout her chapters, Johnson wields a global mirror before her audience that reveals a truth-telling reflection of the growing trend (new roots too) disguising itself as the Body of Christ. And while there were several reasons why I almost stopped reading her novel (See Book Reviews), there were also several reasons why I kept on reading to the end. As it turns out, the story is captivating, thought-provoking, and tragic at the same time.
Analytically speaking, the Parable of the Seed Sower is the interpretation, I believe, best describes the character, “Jerome Watson.” He portrays a “Deacon” of the church; one from whom the devil snatches the Word of God. In Luke 8:13, Jesus describes him this way, they [the seeds] on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
In the non-fiction world, “Jerome” could be the poster child for male Christian churchgoers addicted to sex. The “time of temptation,” in context, indicates a fleeting moment; one that happens as quickly as a thought that enters the mind. According to John Kennedy, a writer for Christianity Today, “… there are men by the millions sitting comfortably in church pews every Sunday who haven’t told anyone about their sexual addiction.”
Johnson presents “Lynn Watson,” a semi-faithful and dutiful wife to “Jerome.” She has faults of her own that reflect Christian churchgoers. Her imperfections, also rooted in the flesh, draws hypocrisy, an age-old Christian flaw, to the surface. Angry and neglected, Lynn drunkenly succumbs to sexual frustration at a bar in the women’s restroom where she allows “Mattie,” a bi-sexual fellow parishioner, to rape her inside one of the stalls. In Luke 8:14 Jesus describes “Lynn” as a seed “… that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” In her case, the “fruit” was her marriage and her miscarried baby.
In my opinion, the author used spiritual warfare: the ongoing battle between good and evil and darkness versus light themes to develop an evil imp called, “Mattie.” It seems that Johnson used this character to symbolize the spirit of lust: a destroyer of the family unit. Through “Mattie,” I understood how homosexual and bi-sexual spirits enter the church doors as choir directors, musicians, praise leaders, preachers, bishops, and unconverted attendees to blend in with the holy, the righteous, and the straight half-converted Christians of the congregation. Half-converted Christians are they that come to church and praise God with world-clinging spirits. Half-converted Christians are they that have secret worldly addictions. Secret worldly addictions cling to half-converted Christians who say they love God but love gambling, fornication, open marriages, alcoholism, pornography, stealing, prostitution, buying and selling drugs, spousal abuse, and nightclubbing. BUT when Sunday comes … they return to a church somewhere occupying space with a silent amen, a half-hearted-handclap and begrudging praise for God. These are they that hide under the cover of grace. This kind chooses unrighteous worldly addictions over God’s holiness; the kind whose spirit God has not entered and whose minds oppose the spirit of God.
Why? Because too many church pastors are faithful to preach the blessing and prosperity but fail to preach repentance, holiness, and hell.
The listless church pastor character represents clergymen who avoid preaching the truth of holiness and hell for the sake of retaining church members and the uninterrupted cash flow collected for entertainment services rendered.
The church deacon that impregnated “Mattie’s” girlfriend; he, his wife, and the pastor symbolize the welcoming acceptance of unrighteousness and its spreading due to pastors failing to preach repentance and the renunciation of unholiness in the church.
Aside from the light shining through the Watson children, Johnson briefly allowed the light of the newly hired Youth Pastor character to shine before diabolical “Mattie” extinguished that light. Untainted by the “Assembly,” the Youth Pastor symbolized purity, holiness, and righteousness.
Kudos, Author Lakisha Johnson! This reader appreciates your writing; a mirror that reveals today’s world addicted Christian churchgoers to themselves. Kudos for reminding Christians to strive to be perfect/holy for God! Jesus is coming back to collect an uncompromising Holy Spirit-filled church. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
“Sanctify yourselves therefore and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God”