John Burnet of Barns

Oh dear, I’ve just lost my 14th book review of the year after half an hour’s thought and writing.

So here’s the abbreviated version.

The full title of this book on my Kindle came up as “John Burnet of Barns – a Romance”.

In truth this book centre around a family feud in 17th century Scotland, with the odd excursion across channel to Holland.

The story is told through the eyes of John Burnet, and centres around the intense rivalry with cousin Gilbert Burnet.

Everything gets out of hand when John’s sweetheart receives unwelcome advances from Gilbert. The story comes alive after their rivalry is intensified by a duel in Holland.

John Buchan was only 23 when he wrote this book, and I’d wager he didn’t know much about romance at this stage in his life.

I’m also confused by the fact that he’s taken real characters from history, and tarnished Gilbert with a handful of dirt, when he reality it seems like he was a top bloke!

Is this book a classic? No.

If that’s so why did I enjoy it?

The truth is John Buchan’s Christian faith shines through.

The main character wasn’t exactly whiter than white, but time and again he shows mercy where many would have abused their power.

At Easter Christians marvel at their Lord who when tried before a kangaroo court chooses not to offer any defence when tried by Pilate.

Perhaps this book goes some way to showing that the ultimately the path of humility is greater than grabbing every advantage that comes our way.

How do you and I measure up to such litmus test?

Not very well.

But Christ died and rose again to take away our sin.

Feeling inadequate, look to the one who laid everything down for failures like you and me.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

John 10:17-18

Feeling superior?

Perhaps it’s time to read the Easter story and re-assess?

Try reading the last three chapters of Mark’s Gospel.


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