Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Fine Season is Not So Fine



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Fine Season

AuthorHouse (November 25, 2008)

by

Michael Sheehan



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michael Sheehan is CEO and founder of BioResource, a company that distributes natural remedies including the popular INFLAMYAR ointment for sports injuries. He wrote One Fine Season to honor the memories of two childhood friends who died young, before they could realize their dreams.

One Fine Season is true to life. It draws on Sheehan’s religious education at a Catholic seminary and his experience as a high school baseball and collegiate soccer player. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Sheehan also earned a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University. He lives in Northern California.


ABOUT THE BOOK

ONE FINE SEASON tells the story of a promising young athlete who must rise from the ashes of devastating personal loss to fulfill a pact made years earlier with his best friend.

Best friends Pete O’Brien and Danny Grace are gifted college athletes, both hoping for careers as professional baseball players. When tragedy strikes, Danny struggles to cope with his overwhelming grief and fulfill a pact the young men made years earlier: to play in the World Series.

Events unexpectedly thrust Danny into the spotlight with the new expansion team in Sacramento. Three guides – an aging catcher, spiritual centerfielder and wise manager – plus a beautiful woman lead him on a healing journey, revealing that even death cannot break the bonds of true friendship.

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of One Fine Season, go HERE

MY THOUGHTS:
I cannot recommend this book. Before I tell you why, I want to preface my review by saying that in no way do I intend to attack the author. Writing a book is a tremendous process and I respect the time and effort he put into it. I admire his desire to honor the memory of his friends who died and sympathize with his loss. The Bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

This book as an example of how Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) The summary, which is what was presented to us when the book was offered for review, sounds intriguing and full of wonderful possibilities. The first chapter (which I believe is what is submitted to CFBA for the book to be accepted) drew me in. As the story continued, however, it veered sharply from Biblical truth. Several discussions in the book promote New Age thinking, including statements such as these:
  • "Don't get me wrong, I think faith is a great gift, but does sacrificing his son make sense to you?. . .Jesus Christ came to show us that resurrection is possible and to reveal our path to the Divine and the state of love we seek." (pp. 42-43)
  • "I seriously doubt that there can be only one heaven. I mean, it wouldn't be heaven if you had to share it with people you don't like or even hate. . . And let's face it--some people are such *** that even God couldn't stand them." (p. 99)
  • "To me, the Garden of Eden was never an actual place on earth. It's a state where our eternal spirits are united precisely with God." (p. 99)
  • "The true reality is our quantum mind's connection to the divine, and the universe as a whole." (p. 102)
  • "Only when we center ourselves in the harmonic connection that we've discussed before, which includes love, artistic expression, and spiritual states, can we achieve a transcendental experience that's beyond rational and overcomes the strict limitations of religion." (p. 151)
In addition to the doctrine that is diametrically opposed to that presented in the Bible, the book contains premarital sex that is deemed to be acceptable, and the language of the book deteriorates rapidly; the last quarter of the book was completely gratuitous in its use of foul language.

And that book summary above? The last sentence on the actual book jacket was revised to read: Along the way, three guides - an aging catcher, a highly educated centerfielder and a wise old manager - emerge to help Danny deal with his shattered faith, and lead him on a journey of spiritual and emotional healing that climaxes when he comes face to face with the universe's ultimate plan for all mankind. (colored emphasis mine) Don't waste your money on this book. Instead, renew your mind with these:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)


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15 comments:

quilly said...

Very nicely reviewed, Linda. I probably wouldn't have handled this with as much grace and style as you just showed. Bravo!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Oh I love your reviews because I can so trust them!! Thanks for the extra verses to help keep us on course! Your ROCK Linda the reviewer!!!

TCKK said...

Thank you for the heads-up on this book. I definitely will not be reading it. You did a really good job at handling this review.

Jenny said...

Linda - thank you for such a Biblically balanced review...my sentiments exactly (although you stated it far more eloquently than I could). I have included a link to your review in my thoughts about the book (I hope that was okay.?)

Blessings!

Rachel @ Future Pastor's Wife said...

You give the best reviews. Thank you for being up front and honest and not afraid to preach the truth!

JulieM said...

Well, thank you! Yes, you are up front and honest and not afraid to preach the truth, but at the same time, you are not preachy :)

Love your blog and your heart. Thanks for keeping us informed!

Letters From Midlife said...

Thank you for being honest in your assessment. It helps. I've been disappointed with several "Christian" books lately for the very reasons you point out about this one.

Andi said...

While we're tossing out scripture, how about this one:
Mat 7:1
Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

Mat 7:2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Mat 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?


Mat 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Andi said...

I also have this to add. If you think that all Christian fiction is suppose to be fluffy and roses because it's Christian fiction think again! Real life happens to Christians! We live in the real world! Adam and Eve sinned, therefore real life happens to us. We're human, we question, we do things that all humans do. Christian fiction should be raw and real otherwise there would be no real redemptive value in Christ now would there?!?

Kim said...

I think someone has totally misinterpreted your post, Linda. Thanks for your honest and thoughtful review. You have proclaimed truth and that is what blogging is all about.

Blessings my friend!

Mocha with Linda said...

Andi,

Thanks for stopping by. The purpose of my disclaimer at the beginning of the review was to make it clear that this was not a personal judgment of the author but an analysis of the information presented. I'm sorry you felt that came across as judgmental.

While the Bible does tell us not to point fingers in judgment, it does tell us to be discerning and to judge the spirits and examine doctrine for alignment with Scripture.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4:1)

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment. (I Corinthians 2:13-15)

And in Matthew 7, which you correctly quote about judging, Jesus goes on to say:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
(Matthew 7:13-23)

And regarding the "fluff and roses", I read, review and appreciate much edgy Christian fiction that shows folks in difficult, authentic situations. I have no problem with that if the Gospel is clearly evident. It was not so in this book.

I appreciate your thoughts and have no desire to get into an argument. You are welcome to promote this book on your blog, as you are accountable to God and not to me. But I cannot recommend this book and risk leading someone to stumble in their faith as a result (Romans 14).

Jason said...

Thanks for noting this post in the comments for the CFBA tour. I didn't have time to read it for the tour - but I'm glad by reference your review I'm not blindly endorsing it either.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

Well said, Linda. Using God's word in context to explain your thoughts shows your desire to please and glorify Him in all that you do. I felt your review was honest in a gentle way. Great job! This is why we trust you...

Xandra

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

This is how you build integrity and trust with readers. I'm glad you stay true to who you are and what you believe and speak honestly yet gracefully.

Lisa writes... said...

You can add me to the list of readers grateful for your honest review. A book review is just that: one reader's opinion and reflections of a book based on that reader's own set of parameters. I'm glad to know you read and review through the lens of Scripture!