While reading the book, “Chasing the Dragon”, by Jackie Pullinger, I found myself confronted by a myriad of mixed opinions. The reality of this book is that it will challenge how you believe in the power of God on one level, and yet have you celebrating the power of God on the other. Aside from the fact that this book looks deeply at the Spirit-led ministry of a young Christian woman who seemed to act without a plan other than to trust in the leading hand of God, it also confronts the reader with stories of miracles and spectacular medical feats that most, even the most faithful of Christians, might struggle with believing. When searching my own soul, I have always believed that the power of miracles was still a prevalent possibility in our world; however, I have also seen far too many “ministers” trying to use “miracles” for money-making potential. I love a grand holy tale as much as the next Christian, but when lightning strikes so many times in the same place, I fear I start to become skeptical. However, with that said, I am not calling the author out; I am merely point out my own hesitations throughout this reading. I believe her devotion to God, and furthermore, I have no problem believing that she was able to accomplish great things in a far from great environment. I enjoyed the way this source pulled me in to each story, eager to know its outcome.
Because of the grand nature of its telling, it does not surprise me to find that online sources like Goodreads.com and CMF.org were prevalent with others offering positive reviews of its content. I was a little surprised when one particular woman actually had a problem with the number of stories of conversion presented in the book; however, I pondered whether she too many have struggled with the many miracles of it all. At the same time, I could not seem to shake a comment that was made very early on in the introduction of the book, which read, “We have little evidence as to what happened to those whom Jesus healed in the Gospels. The accounts, for the most part, stop suddenly.” I was not only curious to find if this book would focus more on the “saved” or more on the minister, but also curious how I would view both through the reading. The reason this stuck with me is that my own belief system was challenged often in this book…did I need to believe in the miracles in order to be joyous regarding the ministry? The question is still kind of haunting me a little. It has forced me to question what my hopes are with my own ministry…to be honest, this is a question I have always tried to repeatedly ask myself. I know that I am vulnerable to having a big ego; after all, I have a church that for most part loves me and are very complimentary to remind me of that. I have papers declaring the degrees I have achieved, and with the thickness of my calendar, could easily boast of “what a dedicated minister I am.” But is that why we do this? Or worse, when we rejoice over stories of conversion, do others interpret them as boasting rather than celebration? I want to hear stories without always having to interrogate them for the truth, and yet, I still want to know if the facts are really…well…facts.
In regard to my own paper, I found one of the statements made later in the book very enlightening; after all, I am hoping to present a hard biblical message in my own dissertation. The topic was discussing two Jesus personalities. “Why don’t you ask him? If you are going to be a Christian, you can’t follow two different leaders called Jesus. You must decide which one.” I believe this is the issue that drives my own ministry; though not necessarily two personas of Jesus, but rather truly finding the message of Christ in our ministry as opposed to allowing the world to turn our ministry into something else. After all…we can only serve one…I want people to serve Jesus. As I read the various stories of conversion, the reality that I hold true is that miracles only happen and ministry is only really effective when it is obedient to God’s will, not mankind’s. Christ gave us a warning as ministers I believe in Mark 4:18-19, when He told the parable of the seeds: “Now these are the ones sown among the thorns; they are the ones who hear the Word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” My dissertation is going to (at least I hope) force the reader to ask themselves where the foundation of their faith and beliefs actually lie. I want to challenge us to hold fast the doctrines of scripture, especially since the world is trying to diligently to silence it.
What happened to the people converted in the early church? The reality to this answer lies in how well they held to the doctrine that was taught to them. I have always loved the message of Galatians, but not because it was an encouraging, uplifting book; but rather instead, because in it, Paul slaps them around spiritually for their failure to hold on to those things which he had taught them. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” However, he does not stop there; “For do I now persuade men, or God? Of do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would NOT be a bondservant of Christ.” To stay on point, perhaps the reason we do not hear the follow up stories to the conversion stories is because each story depends on how lovingly devoted the new Christian chose to stay connected to the Word of God. For that reason, I believe the real success of books such as this one is in the ministers’ ability to pass that necessity on to those whom they helped to convert. Who are we as ministers if we fail to encourage those we have entrusted with, to cling to God’s Word wholeheartedly?
Good Reads. August 17, 2015. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/801823.Chasing_the_Dragon (accessed May 24, 2018).
Latham, John. CMF.Org.uk. 2018. http://www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/content/?context=article&id=1122 (accessed May 24, 2018).
Pullinger, Jackie. Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2001.
 Good Reads. August 17, 2015. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/801823.Chasing_the_Dragon (accessed May 24, 2018).
 Pullinger, Jackie. Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2001. P 9.
 Galatians 1:6-8.
 Galatians 1:10.