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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly moving account of Carson's impressively 'ordinary' father, 10 April 2008
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Paperback)
What makes someone ordinary anyway? Well, by modern standards, I suppose, celebrity is the only way to prove oneself extra-ordinary - such that this has become an aspirational end in itself for countless schoolchildren, regardless of the grounds for that celebrity. Don Carson's father, Tom, was the antithesis of a celebrity - humble almost to the point of self-effacingly insecure, unambitious but committed, sacrificial not grasping. Those of us in the English-speaking world would most likely never have heard of him (because his ministry was entirely focused in French-speaking Quebec and because he would have had no interest whatsoever in self-publicity) - were it not for his son. Both because Don has written some crucial books in the past, but also because of this wonderful memoir.

Carson has talked with other family members and friends to get their reflections. But because he read through his father's private journals (which were never intended for publication, nor necessarily warrant it) we get a sense of the man in his own heart. This is what makes this particular book so precious. Tom battled with deep insecurities and a lack of confidence - and faced various challenges and crises. Not the sort to hit the headlines necessarily, but ones which would have derailed (and did) all but the most faithful and determined. But he persevered - and lived and loved, faithful to the end. He wasn't perfect - he wasn't a great admin person, he in the end worked better as a No 2, he was a solid preacher who knew his bible inside out but wasn't necessarily the greatest by all accounts. But who cares?! He loved his Lord and his people. I'll never forget Don speaking once and saying that a congregation would forgive their pastor anything if they were sure he loved them. Well, having read this book, he must have had his own father in mind. For he went the 3rd and 4th mile to show his practical love for people.

Particularly moving is the chapter about living and caring for his wife Marg during her decline into Alzheimer's. He was of course deeply affected by it, but was able to avoid bitterness or resentment.

The challenge to me with this has been immense - and the testimony of this extraordinarily ordinary life is invaluable. When i grow up, i want to be like Tom Carson.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faithful servant, 2 Oct 2008
By 
G. J. Weeks (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Paperback)
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

But thanks to his famous son, Don, Tom Carson's sweetness is not wasted on the desert air of Quebec. Tom laboured there as an ordinary pastor with no extraordinary gifts save for perseverance and faithfulness. It was a hard place for a Protestant from the 40s onward. Tom seemed to eventually burn out from full time ministry. He exhibited extraordinary grace when wronged by the leading man among Canadian Baptists. He knew the grace of the doctrines as well as the doctrines of grace. He exhibited beautiful love and care for his wife during her years of deterioration into dementia before her death. A moving tribute to a saintly father.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of an ordinary Pastor, 24 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Paperback)
Don Carson is best known for his works of academic theology, but in Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor he has written a much more intimate study of his father. Tom Carson spent most of his ministry in a small charge in Francophone Canada, during an era when evangelical witness was difficult and at times hazardous. More than just a filial debt of gratitude, this warm-hearted book gives fascinating insights into the varied traditions of Canadian society, as well as an intimate picture of an ordinary man. This is a short book, and it's subject was little known outside a limited circle of family, friends and colleagues. But it's a heartwarming read, wand it deserves a wide readership. It will also be a great encouragement to any who, like Tom Carson, are doing faithful Christian work in unglamorous situations. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a helpful read, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Andrew Price (Colchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Paperback)
Don Carson needs no introduction, but his late father probably does. An excellent insight into another world, a different age almost (even though he passed away only a few years back). If you're a pastor you will feel privileged at the insight into this 'average'pastor and challenged by the mans godliness. His standards were very high, (too high?)he seemed very hard on himself, yet.... perhaps when the fruit is weighed, one only has to look at his son's ministry to see what a success this man was
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4.0 out of 5 stars A humbling and inspiring read for the rest of us, 10 Jan 2013
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Mega church pastors need not read!
I found this book such a refreshing change from the 'I started a Church in my garage three years ago and we now have 5thousand members and a coffee shop' books I've read over the last few years.
This bio of a faithful but unknown pastor and father written by a admiring and well-known son was both challenging and inspiring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Far from Ordinary, 2 Feb 2011
This review is from: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Paperback)
First things first, the title is very misleading. Carson chooses it by way of expressing how un-extraordinary (in human terms) his fathers ministry was. But to my mind Tom Carson was as far from this description as you could be.

Reading this short and moving piece quickly opens your eyes to how extraordinary Tom Carson really was. His commitment to prayer, his commitment to study, his commitment to God's Word and his commitment to the calling God had placed on his life. Tom Carson was a man who knew grace inside out and never missed a day of basking in it. In all these respects he was far from ordinary.

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor should be required reading for all pastor/husband/fathers. It's as simple as that. One of the most edifying and challenging (in equal measure) reads I can remember.
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Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor
Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D. A. Carson (Paperback - 5 Feb 2008)
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