Saturday, August 12, 2006

Grace Like a River

I just finished Christopher Parkening's autobiography, Grace Like a River (2006, Tyndale). It was an enjoyable read, especially for those of us who love classical guitar and its music. Parkening was a child prodigy, appearing on "The Tonight Show" when he was 16, and touring the world as the successor to the great Andres Segovia. Having reached the summit of the music world, he gave it all up to retire to a ranch in Montana, where he spent his days fly-fishing (rather well it seems, as he became a world champion). But his life felt increasingly empty, and he began a search for truth and meaning.

God in His providence led Parkening to the ministry of John MacArthur, who taught him about Jesus Christ, the doctrines of grace, and living a life dedicated to glorifying God in Jesus Christ. Parkening resumed his classical music career, only from this point forward he would play as a witness to Christ. He plays only sacred music, and has become a powerful witness to the transforming grace of God. There are many good quotes and anecdotes in the book, and a fine appendix which offers the reader good solid gospel truth on many subjects. One of my favorite lines of the book is, "The will of God, I have discovered, will never take me where the grace of God cannot keep me, protect me, sustain me, calm my fears, and teach me" (p.205).

It's refreshing to read a life story of a famous musician that does not end in tragedy, drugs, or squalor. I highly recommend both this book, and the musical genius of Christopher Parkening.


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