Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Choosing

For Christian Genre Challenge

The Choosing (327 pages) is a good read co-written by husband and wife, Jim and Terri Kraus. It is a story about choices and God's amazing grace.

Tucker Abbott, a 30-something guy from Owatonna, Minnesota graduates from the Faribault Lake Seminary, and accepts the position as an associated pastor in Webster Avenue Church, a small church in Chicago. Here, he works alongside senior Pastor Yount.

Being a decent and single Christian guy in his new neighbourhood, he soon gets the attention of the ladies: Cass Fowler, a beautiful young woman working in Laundromat; Annie Hamilton, the owner of Laundromat and a single mother to her 4-year-old son, Chance; Mrs Alvarez, an elderly 60-something woman who lives across the street from Tucker's appartment; Susan, Pastor Yount's niece who is studying at the Moody Bible Institute whom he is keen to introduce to Tucker; and Pearl Hasse, the wiry mid-fifties office manager of the church.

As Tucker gets to know the people in his church better, he seems to be drawn to Annie who is about 10 years his senior. It is very easy to talk to her and he feels at ease with her. He likes Chance very much too and the little boy seems to adore him as well. When things begin to heat up (without their realization), their neighbour, Mrs Alvarez senses the slight change in atmosphere and confonts Tucker. She loves Annie as her own daughter and certainly do not want her or Chance to get hurt. Even Pearl warns him about it, highlighting their age gap and Annie's history. He assures them they are just good friends, or so it seems in the beginning. Chance, by the way, is not Annie's biological child.

As the story continues, Tucker faces the challenges of choices. Back in his hometown, an old flame, Elizabeth awaits him. She is the perfect candidate for a pastor's wife, or so Tucker's parents seem to think. Then, there is Susan the Moody Bible scholar whom Pastor Yount has been trying to hook him up with. To add to his headache, the beautiful and wild Cass seems to think he is THE one too. Besides the choice for date, or a wife, he also needs to decide on his calling, especially towards the end when he will need to choose between his career or love.

To seek counsel, he takes off to seek his retired mentor, Pastor Ringhofer who is now staying way in the woods. There, he found his answer even though it is not apparent at that moment. It takes him more time and pondering on the 'sign' Pastor Ringhofer was talking about. Pastor Ringhofer also relates about his life and expresses his regrets over the choices he had made when he was younger. He said he made the 'right' choice when he married his wife but it wasn't what his heart wanted. During the visit, something terrible happened to Pastor Yount back in Chicago.

The Choosing points out that "our choices make who we are today and who we will be tomorrow." Do you stay or go? Do you reject or embrace? Do you obey the standard or follow your heart? In Tucker's situation, Annie doesn't live up to the standards imposed upon both of them, but what will Tucker choose? Jim and Terri Kraus penned a delightful read, which is both believeable and easy to relate to.