Manuel V. Long
In “The Word According to Chris” by Manuel V. Long, readers venture into self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and the power of unconditional love. This book beautifully connects the lessons of Jesus Christ with a contemporary narrative applicable to our day-to-day lives.
It follows a young protagonist, Chris, who embarks on a spiritual quest after vivid dreams and encounters with God. As Chris wrestles with questions about life’s purpose and the teachings of Jesus Christ, he engages in deep conversations with God, learning the essence of love and the true meaning of The Word.
Chris probes various aspects of faith, religion, and the human experience in his talks with God. He is encouraged to look beyond religious dogma and embrace a broader appreciation of spirituality, emphasizing the universal truths that underpin all faiths. Along the way, he encounters individuals who exemplify the teachings he learns, including the strong-willed Mary Magdalene and the misguided yet well-intentioned Pastor Joon.
He is also faced with real-life challenges, including his growing affection for Teresa, a woman caught in a complex situation. Through divine guidance, Chris finds himself on a path to help Teresa and her caregiver, Agnes, while deepening his own understanding of love and commitment. “Reform yourself first but since you have met Teresa along the way and you cannot be at peace unless you take her out from the church of the pastor, then go ahead and help her,” was the advice from their conversations.
Resonating throughout the pages is the concept of living a life of compassion. Long illustrates how this principle can be applied to our interactions, urging readers to see themselves in others and to treat each person with tenderness and understanding. He emphasizes that by doing so, we can create a sense of heaven on Earth, remaking our lives and the lives of those around us. The protagonist, Chris learns about the significance of personal transformation and the importance of accepting oneself and others. He discovers that living a life aligned with Jesus requires inner purification and a commitment to compassionate action.
Long’s words echo deeply even after finishing the book, such as when he reminds us, “What you do to anyone, you are merely doing it to yourself.” This embodies the interconnectedness of humanity and underlines the importance of treating others with kindness—a guiding principle that encourages readers a shift toward empathy.
Lastly, Long bridges the gap between ancient wisdom and modern times, making the teachings of Jesus Christ meaningful to readers of all backgrounds—guiding us into spiritual growth through his anecdotes and dialogue.
– The Moving Words Review
Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024