I always have several books that I am reading at once. One book that I am reading is Hashish: A Smugglers Tale by Henri De Monfreid. The book has sold for years in its original French, but has been recently translated by Penguin as part of its classics series.
Yes I know what you are thinking, what a strange book to be reading. The book is a true life account of Monfreid’s naive attempts to smuggle as ship load of Hashish across the gulf of Suez in the 1920’s. (Strangely Monfreid did not even know what Hashish was. He just wanted an adventure.) Monfreid was intellectual, aristocrat, adventurer and smuggler all rolled into one and his book provides a fascinatingly romantic insight into a lost world.
Monfreid must pass all kinds of check points, and customs officials, he must use his cunning and guile to get his cargo through. The book reminds me a book I read when i was very young called God’s Smuggler; which told the story of Brother Andrew a dutch missionary who during the cold war smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. As a young boy I was thrilled with the adventure and the idea of smuggling.
Upon reflection I have found the motif or metaphor of smuggling as a provocative one to apply to the sharing of faith in today’s superflat culture. We are not in the situation that the church found itself under communism, harried and persecuted; instead we face a kingdom of empty happiness and flashy distraction. What would it look like to be smugglers of Faith in our culture today, to use our guile and cunning, to subversively inject into public discourse, fresh biblical truths?