Throughout the year I save a pile of books for my “Summer Break” reading list. Because they come very highly recommended I usually have a great few weeks of nothing short of fantastic reading.
This past spring in the middle of the media deluge that accompanied our “Pure Sex” teaching series at RiverTree a new source suggested a book I had never heard of. We were sitting in my office with cameras rolling when one of the TV news personalities from one of the major Cleveland networks took an unexpected interest in the fact that Julie and I are in the process of domestic adoption. She quickly asked, “Have you read the book, Finding Fish?” She proceeded to explain that Finding Fish is the memoir of Antwone Quentin Fisher and that it had recently been made into a major motion picture directed by none other than Denzel Washington. I added it to my “Summer Break” reading list.
Finding Fish is the amazing true story of Antwone Fisher (hence his nickname “Fish”). “Fish” spent his life in the Cleveland, Ohio area living in a Foster Home with a preacher, his wife and their family. Unfortunately, the book chronicles the amazing abuse that Antwone received in his upbringing and his triumph over what appeared to be insurmountable odds in his adult life.
The book leaves me with many challenging questions. How can professing Jesus-followers perpetrate such atrocities on a child? Actually, that’s the easiest one. We, who claim to be Jesus-followers, are still sinners struggling to do our best to live the life God has called us to. Unfortunately, that leaves us flawed followers. What is disturbing is the ongoing lack of remorse from the preacher and his wife over what they put “Fish” through.
The bigger questions are much more personal.
For instance, what is my responsibility to children who have been damaged by troubled homes and systems, especially in light of Jesus’ consistent valuing of the oppressed which was especially magnified when it came to children? As difficult as the Foster Care system is and as troubling as the children can be, if followers of Jesus do not care for them . . . then who will love them in Jesus’ name? Who will share with them the bright hope and future that God has for them? Who will, in many cases, give them a home they hardly dare dream imaginable?
For me, Finding Fish has been an important read. One more step on the journey of life that God has me on. If you don’t want to face some difficult questions you may want to skip this one.