Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren Paperback – July 31, 2016
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- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 31, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 306 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1534634037
- ISBN-13 : 978-1534634039
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.77 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,747,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Conflicting views between the Brethren and other religious viewpoints started when John attended school. I found it remarkable that young John had this insight at such a young age.
“I began to attend primary school at the age of five. The nearest one to our home was St. John the Baptist School. This was a Church of England school and it was here that I realised, for the first time, that conflicts would arise between those of us brought up in a strict Exclusive Brethren home and the world outside. It was quite a painful awakening and even at that young age I remember blaming my parents for neglecting to prepare me for these difficulties.
The problem arose immediately when I returned home after my first day at school. I told my parents that school began with a religious meeting. They appeared to know nothing about the daily act of worship known as Morning Assembly.”
The rich, vivid details of John’s life and times across each of the sections give the reader clear pictures of the people and times. Commitment to the Exclusive Brethren became questionable when leadership dictated that members maintain isolation from the rest of the world. The family was excommunicated and started down the road to religious recovery.
“James Taylor had been vitriolic in his condemnation of the Open Brethren because of their alleged compromise with the world and the ‘apostate church’ at large. I had been taught from my youth that the Open (or Christian) Brethren were, in Mr. Taylor’s words, “the dirtiest ditch in Christendom”. I passed this comment onto the Brethren representatives who visited me. They just smiled and said they did not mind what I thought of them as long as I knew that my fellowship would be valued if I cared to come to the meetings at any time.”
John’s life drastically altered. His world opened up to the possibilities when he joined the team of Billy Graham to serve God. The hindsight of retirement allowed John to reflect on his wrongs taking steps to atone where possible.
I found the memoir compelling. I can recommend this to those who want to understand how entwined historical and religious events can make a difference. I enjoyed John’s story of his evolution.
This autobiography is the living record of a man, crisscrossed by the personal history of a family and the most intimate fibers of his being. It is an exemplary human response to a life well lived through the good times and the hard times. It’s a wonderful story mixed with history, social customs, travel, and belief.
John’s honest reflections about his life touched me as the curtain was about to close for him: ‘During the year immediately following my retirement, I had time to reflect deeply on how much I had failed to live by my Christian principles and on what an imperfect witness I had been to the Grace of God. There were incidents I regretted and times when I said things that were unkind. All of these needed time to bring to God and seek his forgiveness. Wherever possible I wrote to those whom I had wronged. At the same time I was grateful for all the opportunities I had been given for serving the Lord.’
I was equally touched by this statement that we could all learn and benefit from: ‘Looking back on life I would like to have been less preoccupied with myself, less dependent on the opinion of others, while remaining undisturbed by their criticism and unaffected by their praise.’
I really enjoyed the fact that this book was completed and edited by the authors sons Robert, and Alastair. The overall tone was simply imparting knowledge, personal experience, and wisdom in a gentle and generous way. I’ve no doubt he’d be immensely proud of both of you. Highly recommended reading and a well-deserved five stars from me.
Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren is a powerful and inspirational story that will leave you feeling like a better person for having read it. It’s an impressive work by the late John L. Fear. RIP.
Top reviews from other countries
This memoir shares his journey through the war years including the impact of rationing, mass bombings... on the author's childhood. Although John left school early to help provide much needed income for his family, his career path seemed predestined to encompass faith and spirituality.
He envisaged a career in law, but national service interrupted his training and he eventually became an award winning salesman.
His talents were later put to good use in organising large scale events for Billy Graham and his organisation, which led to him working as a journalist and broadcaster for a Christian radio station in The Seychelles, India and Africa.
John met many high profile figures on his journey, including Cliff Richard, Malcolm Muggeridge, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul...
However, he remained a humble man, listening and taking note of other people's perspectives on life and spirituality. He shared a great love for his wife Mary and his family, who lived through his long absences while he worked abroad.
This book is a great testament to his life and to his family, including his son Robert who edited this very special memoir.
"During the year immediately following my retirement, I had time to reflect deeply on how much I had failed to live by my Christian principles and on what an imperfect witness I had been to the Grace of God. There were incidents I regretted and times when I said things that were unkind. All of these needed time to bring to God and seek his forgiveness. Wherever possible I wrote to those whom I had wronged. At the same time I was grateful for all the opportunities I had been given for serving the Lord."
John more than took advantage of these opportunities and the result is a joy of a book to read. Deep, thoughtful, humorous and brave, the world could do with a lot more such ‘imperfect witnesses’.
While I could see the quality of the book I think it would appeal more to people with their own religious convictions, I think I was expecting more about John's struggle in and out of the Brethren.
An interesting memoir which I am sure will touch many people.