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Jordan's Crossing: A Novel Paperback – September 20, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590522605
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590522608
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,497,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RANDALL ARTHUR served as a missionary in Europe for thirty-three years. He and his wife, Sherri, have planted churches in Oslo, Munich, and Berlin. As the current European Outreach Minister for a nondenominational mission organization, he recruits, trains, and leads short-term mission teams to work alongside evangelical churches throughout the European continent. He is also author of Wisdom Hunter and Brotherhood of Betrayal.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Part 1
1991
 
 
Chapter 1

 
In a lower-class Chicago high-rise, Ricardo Alvarez jabbed the switchblade into his desktop, gouging out splintered chunks of pine and flicking them onto the floor. He hoped his mother would come into his room at any second, see what he was doing, and start yelling at him.
 
He gripped the switchblade tighter. Let her yell. It would give him an excuse to scream and curse right back at her. She had just informed him that she was going to marry the
crew-cut, nonsmiling Special Forces soldier she had been dating.
 
At the thought of it, Ricardo plunged the knife again, prying loose a silver-dollar-sized piece of wood. She was nothing but a cheap barfly, Ricardo decided. He might as well be an orphan. She had never cared about his feelings. Never. She knew he couldn’t stand
the sight of the jarhead jerk she was dating—but did it matter? No! Not to her.
 
He snarled as he twisted the blade back and forth in the top of the desk.
 
He’d heard them talking through the thin wall that separated his bedroom from the living room. He’d heard Mitchum—that was the Green Beret’s name—talk about the fact that he was being transferred to Germany. He’d heard the louse ask his mother if Germany was okay with her. “Sure,” she’d said, with a drunken giggle.
 
Ricardo raised the knife high above his head. Did anybody think to ask what he thought about going to Germany? Did anybody care at all what a sixteen-year-old guy with friends of his own felt about being jerked halfway around the world with a mother who stayed drunk and a stepfather he couldn’t stand? He thrust the knife into the desk, wishing this time that the blade were striking something besides unfeeling wood.
 
At 11:30 P.M., Jordan Rau stood in the dark, staring out the living room window of his family’s fifth-floor Munich apartment at the empty, mist-shrouded streets below. It was late and he was tired, but the nagging frustrations in his mind kept him from going to bed.
For the first time in weeks, he was wondering if he had done the right thing. This particular evening, like many others during the last month and a half, had been a miserable one for his family, filled with arguments, shouts, and short tempers. His wife and children had finally marched off to their bedrooms to be left alone.
 
What’s wrong with them? Jordan asked himself as he glimpsed the dark outlines of Grunwalder Stadium, four blocks away. Why can’t they be reasonable?
 
Evidently he was the only one who could understand the logic of moving here from Chattanooga. After all, the financial incentives were too significant to pass up: The mission board was guaranteeing them a monthly salary that was a full 50 percent more
than he had been paid by his church in Tennessee. Not to mention the generous medical benefits package—no small consideration, in light of their son’s epilepsy.
 
Despite his annoyance, a tiny smile came to his lips as he thought about Chase. The seventeen-year-old had, against all odds, found his first girlfriend—here, in Germany. Her name was Heather Anne Moseley, and she was a classmate at the Department
of Defense high school for American military dependents. This friendship alone was enough to justify the move, as far as Jordan was concerned. For the first time in many years, his son—his pride and joy—was taking an active interest in life, an interest that was perhaps strong enough to pull him beyond the reclusiveness and caution that the epilepsy had forced on him since childhood.
 
Then Jordan thought of Susan, his wife—and frowned again. She didn’t share his enjoyment of Chase’s budding romance, or of anything else related to the move. Since the day the letter came from the mission board announcing the opportunity for this overseas project, she had planted her heels in opposition. Again, Jordan replayed their conversation—the same conversation that had consistently surfaced, with minor variations, since he began talking about the possibility of making the move:
 
“Why do we have to move so far away?” she would demand. “Is it just the high salary? Is that the reason? If it is, I’ll get a full-time job. We can use my paycheck to pay back the bank loan. We don’t have to go all the way to Germany just to recover from our debt!”
 
At this point in the exchange, Jordan usually became annoyed. Susan insistently played up their financial difficulties, tacitly declaring that Jordan’s only motivation was “money.” True, the debt was bothersome, but that was hardly—
 
“And another thing,” she would continue. “If it were just the two of us, maybe I could handle the move. But doesn’t it matter to you that Chase is just now, after nine years, starting to feel comfortable with his peers in Chattanooga? Doesn’t it matter to you that we have a thirteen-year-old daughter who needs her friends right now? And doesn’t it matter to you that your church doesn’t want to give you up as their pastor?”
 
Jordan sighed. On and on it went. Susan just couldn’t seem to understand the opportunities opening up in this part of the world for their denomination. The emotional insecurities that she felt for herself and for the children were blinding her. She wasn’t
comprehending the importance that the denomination was attaching to their specially selected five-family team: a team set up, along with four other joint teams specializing in various Eastern European languages, to staff the new seminary their denomination was building in Leipzig, Germany.
 
She couldn’t grasp anything of the vision, not even when he tried to describe it for her. Whenever he tried to be persuasive, she would badger him with her simplistic, timeworn phrases that were always shrouded in a cloak of religious respectability:
 
“Jordan, I just can’t see that this move is God’s will. I know it’s something you want; but are you sure it’s something He wants? Have you even prayed about it?”
 
Turning away from the window, he rubbed his face in irritation. Susan and her narrow-minded evangelical upbringing... She couldn’t seem to outgrow it, not even after all these years. To Susan, God’s will was a black-and-white immutable fact, unique for each individual, and something that could be unmistakably determined if a person only prayed hard enough for long enough. But if Jordan had learned anything during his time in seminary, it was that God’s purposes for man were not so easily understood or defined. Of course, he knew Susan wasn’t completely at fault for her lack of religious sophistication. She had only inherited the naive tenets that her parents had drummed into her since birth. For her, Christianity wasn’t something to be critically analyzed and sifted. It was rather a whole list of beliefs that had to be accepted in their entirety without serious or creative questioning. In a way, though, he knew that this was what had drawn him to Susan in the first place: She was like an easy-believing child, sweet and unpretentious. Yet, as he had learned through twenty years of marriage, her simple way of thinking could also lend itself to unreasonableness and stubbornness.
 
Jordan stretched his six-foot-four, 245-pound frame and turned toward the bedroom. He realized that people like Susan sometimes had to be pushed against their wills like children, until they saw the light. That’s what he had to keep doing, he decided. He knew this move was right. He’d just have to maintain his course until Susan was as convinced as he was.
 
Lying in bed alone, trying in vain to fall asleep, Susan Rau felt swallowed by an unshakable emptiness swirling around her. Like tireless animals of prey, the difficulties of her uprooted life continued to stalk her, denying her the rest she so badly needed.
 
Since the day her family stepped from the plane at the Munich airport, nothing had gone right for them.
 
It had taken an unexpected seven weeks to find a place to live. The large number of East Germans now moving freely into the West was creating a severe housing shortage. Their mission board had somehow missed this detail.
 
Jordan had not been allowed to collect their car or any of their household goods from customs until they had first acquired a permanent address and a residence permit. Before finding their apartment, they were forced to live out of their suitcases at a German Gasthaus twenty-three miles outside of Munich. Susan had felt isolated—trapped.
 
Chase was late in starting his senior year at the American Department of Defense high school in Munich. He was struggling to adjust and to catch up.
 
Their daughter, Donica, also starting late, was not adjusting to the German school she was attending. Chase was allowed to attend the American school simply because it was his senior year. Donica, however, was put in the German school system because she was
younger, and because it was already costing $500 a month to send Chase to the DOD school. But trying to learn German by total immersion and trying to make new friends with the German students was more of an emotional struggle for Donica than she could
handle. Normally a bubbly optimist, she was becoming withdrawn and silent.
 
Susan found herself in a constant battle with loneliness and depression. Uprooted from her friends and relatives in the States, she longed to lean on Jordan for the emotional support that could perhaps help make a difference in her situation. But because of his
responsibilities, he was less able now than at any time in their twenty years of marriage to give her...

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Customer Reviews

This is a riveting and thought-provoking book.
Beverly
Thank you for being honest about the good and the bad in the "church" and our lives, and about God's grace and His presence through both.
M. McGaughey
I just finished reading the book for the second time and it was still an amazing read eventhough I knew what was coming next.
T. Tennard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Beverly on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Reader from Florida is certainly correct that many of the events are unbelievable, but to me, it did not lessen the book in any way. As Jordan's Crossing opens, it is immediately evident that Jordan is a man who is disturbed and in conflict about many issues dealing with Christianity. After his son is brutally and senselessly murdered, Jordan goes through a change in his attitude and personality that no one, his wife, daughter, or his church members can understand. No one, ministers and psychologists alike, can get Jordan to open up and begin the healing process. Instead, Jordan goes through his own process, or crossing, as he single-mindedly pursues his son's killers. Yes, how he achieves this crossing is riveting, sensational, and even hard to believe, but it works for Jordan's personality and the way that he handles his grief. The reader is kept on the edge of his seat not only to see if Jordan ever gets his man, but also to see if he ever makes his crossing. This is a riveting and thought-provoking book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jordans Crossing is an absolute must read. I have learned so much about Christian legalism and am able to recognize it. This story takes place in Europe and every place described and written about I've been, Randall Arthur writes obviously from experience, even to the story's locations. This is a capitvating-no put down book. You'll want to buy as many as you can to give away. A must read!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. McGaughey on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read few authors that gripped me the way Randall Arthur has in his three stories (Brotherhood of Betrayal, Jordan's Crossing, and Wisdom Hunter). I could not put any of them down and lost a lot of sleep the week I read them. I cried and laughed and prayed my way through each of them. Randall, if you're reading this, thank you for letting God write through you. Though it has a been a good six months since I read them I am tearing up as I remember then now and how God used them in my life. Thank you for being honest about the good and the bad in the "church" and our lives, and about God's grace and His presence through both. I truly thank God for you, brother, I really do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heartily recommend "Wisdom Hunter" in place of this book. Perhaps because W.H. was exactly what I needed to hear and the fact that J.Faircloth was in a similar position I was in. I was captivated by how much that book spoke to me. As for J.Crossing, I'm not saying it was a poor novel - it might be what W.Hunter was for me, as J.Crossing will be for you. God might speak to you in a different way than He did for me through this novel.
I would recommend Wisdom Hunter if you are: under legalism
I would recommend Jordan's Crossing if you are: ....??? Questionning faith, the Bible, God?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Tennard on October 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Wisdom Hunter' is amazing and powerful, it is one of my all time favorite books, I have read it three times, so far. Jordan's Crossing is in many ways a more powerful book, because of the hard hitting and graphic subject matter. If you are looking for a light fluffly read this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a hard hitting, in your face story full of hard truths than you are in the right place. Randall Arthur has again created characters that you come to know and care a great deal about. I just finished reading the book for the second time and it was still an amazing read eventhough I knew what was coming next. I applaud Arthur for writing a hard hitting story. One which displays some of the extreme darkness of life and how to combat it with the light of the Truth. I will soon be rereading the third book in this series 'Brotherhood Of Betrayal'.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have read this book 4 or 5 time I love it! It touchs on the nature of GOD and His love for us, How HE will not let us go! Wisdom Hunter, Randall Arthurs other book ,is outstanding a must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written by a missionary who served in Europe for twenty-two years, Jordan's Crossing is a novel about an avowed liberal led astray first by greed, then when his young son is murdered, by thoughts of revenge and dealing out "justice" with his own hands. Hatred and revenge control him, driving him to destroy his own family as surely as his son's killers, and only a divine miracle can stop him. Jordan's Crossing is written with a passion for God and trust in His guidance, and reverberates with conservative Christian hope and morals. A deeply faithful and reverant book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. M. Johnston on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here is a book that has many pegs on which to hang Biblical principles. Not only is it an exciting read but it is a great teaching tool. I like the way one character finds his way into all three books written by Randall Arthur. Well done!
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