4 out of 4 stars
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Creation or evolution? Non-Compliant: A Pastor's Battle with Religious Intolerance by Timothy E. McDevitt pits evolution against creation and government against churches. It is a fictional story with factual scientific evidence.
In the small town of Millersville, NY, there is a small, "peace-loving" congregation at St. John's church. Pastor Matt Kenner had received the devastating news that his daughter, Jessica, had jumped from the fifth floor of a building at college. She had a severe head injury and was in a coma. While struggling with his daughter's attempted suicide, Pastor Kenner received a letter from Washington, DC, stating churches must register either compliant or non-compliant with their belief in modern science. Many of St. John's parishioners believe that creation and evolution are closely related.
Pastor Kenner had to decide if his church would register compliant or non-compliant. The men of the consistory wanted him to register compliant, saying the church believed in evolution. He could not decide this on his own, so he called a meeting to let the church members vote on registering. With such an immense weight on his shoulders, his faith wavered. Will Jessica have brain damage if she awakens? How will the church vote on the compliance issue?
Timothy E. Devitt wrote a story filled with powerful emotions, well-developed characters, and differing opinions among St. John's church members. Outsiders had harassed churches who had registered as non-compliant by invading services and defacing the churches with the evolution symbol of a fish with feet. There was a fear the same thing would happen to St. John's. Devitt did an outstanding job of portraying the anguish of Pastor Matt Kenner as he struggled with his faith during this time.
What I liked most about this book was how Pastor Kenner never compromised on his views. He researched the scientific data on evolution, he talked to those who had taught evolution, and he stood steadfast to his beliefs in the face of adversity. Pastor Kenner had found and read his daughter's journal and discovered his daughter had become disillusioned and had rejected her faith. In addition, she had lost a best friend to an illness. His heart broke, knowing his daughter had been struggling with her beliefs.
There wasn't anything I disliked about this book. It is well written with excellent character development and a creative storyline. The author's writing style is casual and easy to understand. There were only a couple of errors, so this book appears professionally edited. I personally do not believe in evolution, but this book made some interesting thoughts come to mind. For the reasons just mentioned, I am happy to rate Non-Compliant 4 out of 4 stars.
I would recommend this book to those who question evolution and are interested in learning how evolution and creation can be connected. I would encourage parents to read this book with their younger teens and discuss their feelings about evolution and creation. Each reader will have to form their own opinion on the two theories.
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