The Chair

thechairBy James Rubart (B&H Publishing 2011)

If someone gave you a chair and said it was made by Jesus Christ, would you believe them?

When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store and gives him a chair she claims was crafted by Jesus, he scoffs. But when a young boy is miraculously healed two days after sitting in the chair, he stops laughing and starts wondering . . . could this chair heal the person whose life Corin destroyed twelve years ago?

As word spreads of the boy’s healing, a mega-church pastor is determined to manipulate Corin into turning over the chair. And that mysterious woman who gave him the piece flits in and out of his life like a shadow, insinuating it’s Corin’s destiny to guard the chair above everything else.

The Chair is full of suspenseful twists and turns as Corin struggles with faith and forgiveness (and also tries to protect the chair from nefarious forces which are trying to steal it).

Everyone in our book club found the book easy to read and enjoyable. In many ways, it reminded me of The DaVinci Code, but with a mega-church pastor being the arch-nemesis instead of the Catholic Church.

Our group had a couple of interesting discussions. Because the main character practiced extreme sports (and seemed to have a death wish), we talked about whether such activities are God-pleasing. Where do we draw the line between trusting God and tempting him by taking unnecessary risks?

The other discussion we had was more central to the story. God can use inanimate objects to heal and help (e.g., the Bronze Snake in the wilderness or the woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ robe). But the question is: Does he do so through relics connected to Jesus or the Bible?

In this fictional story, God offered healing and forgiveness through a chair. In the non-fiction, real world, God offers that forgiveness through his Word and Sacraments. Forgiveness and healing doesn’t come through a chair. It comes through Jesus. It comes through the promises of his Word.

That being said, this is a work of fiction and a well written one at that. Our group thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it.