Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Tour - Day 2

Sometimes Suffering Occurs Even When You Did the Right Thing

(click image for Amazon link or click link below)

Lost Mission - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416583475
Author Web site - http://www.atholdickson.com/
Author blog - http://whatatholwrote.blogspot.com/

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Dickson manages to portray similarities between the two periods, 1870s and present, by comparing a character from the past with a character from the present. Alejandro thinks himself plain, and shows his faith by helping others without complaint. One of three Franciscan monks, Alejandro should feel a part of the group, but keeps finding fault with the failure of faith by others. When the Abbot, Fray Guillermo, decides to punish an innocent Indian who appears at their camp by placing a heavy stone burden on his back, Alejandro grabs a stone that he might share the Indian's burden in spirit if not in person.

In the present, Lupe helps young missionary, Tucker Rue, with founding and opening a mission that ministered to her people, the Hispanics, who crossed the desert for a chance at a new, and better life in America. Like Alejandro, Lupe, feels others have lost sight of the true meaning behind a church, and a mission. She sees many sins, even among church members, that go unchallenged. Peoples' priorities are completely out of balance.

Alejandro had begged his Abbot to help those less fortunate by sharing out of their abundance with the Indians. Lupe shared out of her meager money supply to help the disadvantaged. As she rides past the great churches in town, she dwells on how much might be done for the poor if the rich only shared their tithe rather than building ever larger houses of worship. This theme of withholding money by the rich is repeated frequently by Tucker Rue and Lupe. Maybe that was part of their character's financial background growing up and the reason both dwell on the subject.

A contrast to the the poor in the past is Fray Guillermo. The abbot has a large storehouse of wealth used to set up the mission, and takes comfort in counting and recounting their supplies. He struck me as a type of religious miser. Ready to pitch in when it came to enlarging their building, but withholding when it came to the Indians that they planned to minister to. Guillermo sees everything as either black or white, like the Pharisees of old. Rules must be followed at all cost, even if the reasons for following them have been lost over time.

Delano Wright is the modern day rich man. After his daughter's car is struck by a group of illegals in a truck, Delano retaliates in the manner he knows best. He concocts a plan to move money at his mega-church from local missions, temporarily, into a giant land development that will grow the church even larger. Because of a broken promise, Delano feels completely within his rights, and justifies his actions by saying the legal maneuvering will help the church. Delano also sees everything as cut and dry. Yet the more he tries to follow his set of rules, the more at odds he becomes with life around him.

The next contrast between centuries is that of Fray Benicio and Tucker Rue. Both men are new in their life's mission, but both take steps to expedite what they see as the 'proper' goal of their respective missions. Benecio leaves the abbey and take what he needs to win over the unchurched out the confines of the abbey and the abbot. When the Abbot refuses to share a small bag of grain, Benico takes it. His actions cause an innocent man to face the a whipping at the stocks.

Tucker Rue falls for a rich girl, and convinces himself that marrying her will help others by accessing her money so he does this for unselfish reasons. When faced with a great need by someone with a sick child, he yields to temptation, causing many to lose jobs their families depended upon.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss how some character names seem to fit the person, and what it seems is the meaning behind the title, Lost Mission.


Krysti said...

Good juxtaposition of Alejandro and Lupe! Very insightful.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Tim, you're the only one I've come across so far who has featured the parallels between the characters of the two time periods. But that, according to an interview he did with Phyllis, was one of the main things Athol wanted to show.

Very insightful, indeed.


Fantasythyme said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Krysti and Becky!

I enjoy time travel stories, so the contrast between the two periods in Lost Mission felt a bit like a taking readers on a temporal journey.