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A Fascinating Spiritual Memoir: Review of “The Hardness of the Heart”

May 15, 2018

The Hardness of the Heart is an interesting form of autobiography covering a portion of Wade Fransson’s life.  It is the second volume of a trilogy which focuses primarily on his spiritual transformation and maturation.

It covers a couple decades of Fransson’s life and ties periodically back to issues and themes begun in volume one, The People of the Sign, which covers the author’s earlier years.  As you’d suspect from there being three volumes (the last soon to be published), the book goes into a lot of detail. I found the specifics to be engaging and often fascinating.  Whatever one may think of Fransson’s religious beliefs and spiritual emphasis, there is plenty of drama in his life experiences and in the way he describes them.  As a former preacher in the Worldwide Church of God, he knows how to tell a story.  And he does it throughout the book.

The narrative, along with the transparency of a man exploring his own psyche, willing to expose his failings and falterings, keep the theological reflections interesting.  I presume this would hold for most readers even with little religious background or interest.

For readers who do have similar religious backgrounds, there may be special “aha’s”, a feeling of camaraderie, or perhaps an experience of support in growing beyond the boundaries often set by conservative or “literalist” styles of church.

I personally found particular interest in how the author progressed through stages of deeper understanding, confrontation both inwardly and outwardly toward others, and step-by-step withdrawal from the “Church” (basically a small denomination).  This was sometimes painful and always stressful.  The story has an extra layer than that of most who’ve gone through a similar process, as I have myself — Fransson was a minister and missionary of some repute in the Worldwide Church of God when it went through a series of splits.  So this meant not just a quiet, simple withdrawal but a number of wrenching person-to-person tensions and partings.

The frustrations and trials of organizational life don’t end there in this book.  Minister Fransson becomes Corporate Man Fransson, only to encounter a similar set of personal ambition, authority and ethics struggles in some of America’s medium-sized to very large corporations… names you will probably recognize.  This slice of the book I consider perhaps as valuable as the insights on personal development and “demon slaying”.  What you probably realize goes on in corporations you will get an inside glimpse of here; and sadly, it’s not a pretty picture in all too many frames.

There is a further level of self-revelation in The Hardness of the Heart — that of Fransson’s romantic life and family life.  We get to see the slow agony he underwent in the collapse of his first marriage.  This is part-and-parcel of the other elements he develops in greater depth and his inclusion of it certainly fills out the picture of his life… going beyond the “religious” or belief-system and career aspects.  Happily, we see him learn and grow into a readiness and ability to build a deep and harmonious new relationship.  His telling of this process and a suspenseful proposal to the woman he’s come to completely adore (as well as be a true friend to) I found to be a great finale.

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2018 11:29 am

    Nicely done. Sounds like the Wade I know.

  2. May 21, 2018 5:44 am

    Oh no, not something ELSE that I want to read…. Thanks for posting this!

  3. Anonymous permalink
    August 12, 2018 9:38 pm

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