Film / Book Reviews

A Bishop’s life-changing conversation with modern Singaporeans

Sep 2008    

The Race

Author: Robert M. Solomon
Publisher: Armour Publishing 176 pages, $16

WHAT would the average modern and Internet-savvy Singaporean expect to hear from the Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore?

Most people would think that pastors today have become like the senior members of the family, having something to say to the younger generations, and yet not something that the latter necessarily find relevant to their “modern” and “digitalised” and “rat-race” living context.

The Bishop has something to say to Singaporeans today, not just the believers, but all, including the non-believers.

But it is not merely something he feels is important, but something that his listeners would also want to listen to, in his newest book, The Race, a recent release by Armour Publishing.

One could almost imagine Bishop Dr Robert M. Solomon ringing you up one fine day and inviting you to Starbucks for a cuppa. And there, over coffee, he starts to – not preach a long and draggy sermon – but say some interesting things to spark off a mutual discussion afterwards.

He starts off by talking about the importance of first, realising that every human being is in the midst of running a race, and secondly, that it is important for us to be in the right race, and he keeps up the focus of his audience, by saying what he wants to say in a short, succinct, and conversational manner, backing up difficult portions with more explanation, and yet keeping everything short and sweet.

Within the book’s 11 chapters, he spruces up his content with ever-so-timely sayings of wisdom from the past, and interspersing each chapter with appropriate and life-giving examples.

Ever the Bishop, he also makes sure that each chapter’s theme is solidly backed up by a Biblical passage.

Perhaps the greatest value of the book comes from its ability to speak with a Biblical voice into the current context of the average Singaporean, regardless of whether he or she is a believer in Christ or a non-believer.

In The Race, Bishop Dr Solomon displays both his depth of understanding of Scripture and spirituality in ministry, and his clear grasp of the current day-to-day and lifelong struggles of the modern city-dweller – he seems to be well- connected not just to the Word of God, but the latest word communicated among people living in Singapore today.

Even more significantly, the Bishop, who was formerly a medical doctor in government service, seems to be able to “prescribe” the right ingredients for wise living, or as he would put it, living a way that is good for the soul.

Some of these “tips” for spiritual living are not at all “holy-moley”, including finding a right coach, and practising discipline in life, and for him, the two most important disciplines in life are spending time in the Word of God, and spending time in sincere prayer.

Besides delivering its content, the book allows the reader to take a third-person objective view of life in the modern-day setting, unveiling the “unthinkingness” and foolishness of living in the midst of and breaking one’s bones for a consumer-oriented society.

One could almost hear the Bishop speaking directly into the Singaporean’s life situations and guiding us step-by-step combining a doctor’s precision with a pastor’s fatherly heart, guiding them to make a wise decision by the end of his conversation, before releasing them – and at the right time – into the fullness of the life each person has been given in Jesus Christ.

All in all, The Race is more than a good read; its clarity of message, practical relevancy, and most importantly, the heart of love that was invested into each and every word, allows its reader to take away more than just information. It imparts a masterful coach’s spirit of focus and encouragement that will stay with those who pick up the book long after they have put it down. – Used with permission from Christian Post Singapore.

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