Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Gate by Dann A. Stouten - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Revell Publishing)

Every life is a story. Schuyler Hunt is about to come face-to-face with the author of his.
When a planned getaway with his wife turns into a shopping trip for the girls, Schuyler Hunt finds himself looking for something else to do. An ad for a vacation cottage catches his eye, and he sets off in search of a much-needed break. When he arrives, he finds something far different from the typical summer home experience. In fact, he may have found a little slice of heaven.
The proprietor-along with a number of unexpected and yet familiar guests-welcomes him with food, rest, and conversation, until what started out as an escape from everyday life turns into something much, much more . . .
“There is a real world all around us. We taste and feel it every day. There is also another world where God dwells and those who have gone before us live with Jesus. Dann Stouten helps us discover that these two places intersect more than we often notice. If we pay close attention, we just might see, smell, and learn to taste the goodness of a world beyond this one.”-Kevin Harney, author of Reckless Faith.
My Thoughts:
“I have hope.  I know God, and I know he’s working things out in ways that I might not understand.  So when I don’t have all the answers, I can put my trust in the One who does.” ( p. 244)

The Gate, by Dann Stouten, is a very unusual story.  I know that many will try to compare it to The Shack because that is the only thing even remotely similar.  And even that is not an accurate statement.  Yes, the book explores the eternal  in a very creative manner.  Yes, the persons of the Trinity are represented as separate characters in the story, but that is about the only similarity.  
Sheuyler Hunt is brought to a place of self-examination under very different circumstances and the exploration of his faith and relationship with others in his life has a very “second-chance” feel to it.  In truth, I imagine we all long for a glimpse at resolution the way “Sky” was able to glimpse it through the eyes of eternity.  I imagine we’d love for loved ones to cheer us on our way when things get confusing and doubt clouds our mind.

The idea of “prophet” is examined and assigned a modern, day-to-day reality definition, and I doubt many who become acquainted with Stouten’s characters will be able to forget the one they identified with the most.  Everyone is represented in a realistic, and sometimes painful way.  Reality bites.  But when you realize that God does indeed love His creation and has a plan for their good and His glory – all of the sudden the paradigm shifts.   And no one is left the same.  The transforming power of Christ’s love for us shifts everything.

I will be honest and say that I was a bit skeptical during the first few chapters.  However, the end result – WOW!  I hope everyone will give this a fair read and skip the comparison temptation.  I almost missed a blessing!  So prepare your heart to be challenged!  Prepare to be blessed!

About the Author:
Dann A. Stouten is senior pastor of Community Reformed Church in Zeeland, Michigan, one of the fastest-growing churches on the West Michigan lakeshore. After a highly successful career in the auto industry, Dann returned to school and earned his DMin in narrative preaching. This is his first novel.

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