Whether as a co-labourer in Christ, a recipient of his ministry, or as his friend, the writers of this festschrift are united in their honour and high regard for Pastor David Wong. Each writer addresses the area in which his/her and Pastor David’s interests intersect. While some of the essays are more dextrous and evenly paced than others, they all reflect an earnestness and insightfulness that testify to the writer’s passion for their chosen niche.

The book can be read according to its eight topical divisions (as presented in the contents page), but it can also be considered according to the three styles of essays present in this collection.

First, essays by Yip, Menon, Satterthwaite, Tsao, Leow and John challenge certain Christian assumptions and perceptions, namely that of conflict management; caring for the dead; the traditional interpretation of the book of Ecclesiastes; the phrase “unequally yoked”; disability; and emotions respectively. Through deft close reading of Scripture, the writers not only convincingly present their specific cases, they also demonstrate the value of engaging the Word of God with solid intellectual rigour.

Second, the testimonial essays depict the writers’ personal experience with Pastor David. Tan, Quek, Tang, Wong, and the Chuas speak to the various expressions of Pastor David’s Christlikeness that have left an indelible mark on their lives: the visionary yet caring leader, the sensitive spiritual father, the attentive mentor, the committed brother-in-Christ and the thoughtful pastor. These stories consistently demonstrate how much the Lord can do with one man’s kindness, and the imperative of doing kingdom work with much-needed heart.

Third, the expository essays offer compelling introductions into and practical principles for various facets of the Christian life. Lai and Zheng offer historical and biographical content about the legacy of Bible Presbyterian church fathers, and missional heroes of the faith C.T. and Priscilla Studd respectively. Wee examines the church’s missional purpose. Ho explores what constitutes a good working relationship between the laity and the pastoral team in a church. Soh, Beh, and Lin expound on the value and necessity of good preaching, and leadership respectively. The Lees, and Chai and Yeo, speak to the various ways artistic expression can facilitate the advancement of the gospel.

Considered in this manner, these essays broaden our perspective as to what the thriving mind, heart, and body of the kingdom of God can look like.

It is uncommon to see such a breadth of topics covered in one book. And it is even more incredible that the life of one man is the reason they are found in a single collection. If this breadth is an indication of the diversity that is present in the church, it also testifies to the richness of a life that can be found when one devotes one’s life to Christ as thoroughly as Pastor David Wong clearly has. The book leaves us with hope as to how, if we learn to integrate our differences rather than be afraid of them, the church can potentially coalesce an increasingly polarised world.

You can view a sample of An Owl’s Journey here.

This review is written by Nicole Ong, the editor for An Owl’s Journey.