A Journey Through Life
Firstly, let me say that I'm not really a sci-fi fan. There are very few Klingons-on-the-starboard-bow in my faith, I'm afraid. When it comes to reflecting on the love of God and my journey of faith in Christ, aliens and starfleets don't really feature. I tend to put light-speed journeys through worm-holes in the 'fantastical' category, and Jesus' descent into humanity into the category marked 'quite plausible, actually'. This book made me wonder whether I'm taking for granted the awesome mystery of God's love.
Faith Odyssey: A Journey Through Life is a highly creative voyage. It takes its reader on a fantastic pilgrimage, beginning at 'the mess' of our sin and ending at the solution, Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate journey from Heaven to sinful Earth, in order to redeem its inhabitants.
Like Abraham in Genesis, Burridge encourages us to look at the stars and be inspired into deeper faith in God. Throughout the book, Burridge makes intelligent and profound links between his love for science fiction and his belief in the truth of the Bible. For example, using the premise of Star Trek: Voyager as an illustration —— 'it is as though the writers are saying "never mind about going out where none have gone before; we are lost — does anyone know the way back home?" ' — Burridge relates the Israelites' exile in Babylon to the state of human beings on planet Earth, saying:
These themes do indeed paint a sorry portrait of the Mess we're in — where the hopes of stardust turn to ashes, where people sin and murder others, oppress and enslave them. No wonder we feel alienated and lost. Both the Bible and our contemporary films and novels tell the same sad story of the context in which we start our journey through life. But there is hope, so "set the course for home"!
My only disappointment with this book is that among the many excellent illustrations from various films, novels, and television series, there are also a few tired, clichéd ones. When I was reminded that the Matrix symbolises a world rather like our own — blinded to the truth by its self-involved existence — I shrugged and thought, 'Are people still writing about The Matrix?'. And after I read that Neo could be compared to Christ, who enters the 'real world' in order to save it, I thought that Burridge could have used as many words to say something more original. However, these moments are few and far between. And I'm biased: bored of all things Matrix-related.
This book was originally published for reading in Lent but it is in no way just for use during Lent. On the contrary, its powerful daily reflections make it ideal for use throughout the year. But anyway, if all that stuff about wormholes and time machines is true, even if it was still presented as a Lent book, I'd encourage you to go back and start Lent all over again, and take this book with you.
Go on, try it: I dare you!
Mark Burnhope, April 2004
Mark Burnhope is a graduate of London School of Theology. He is a 'trying' novelist and poet with a Masters Degree in Creative and Transactional Writing from Brunel University, and an alternative worship/emerging church obsessive.Order from www.christianbookshops.org