Monday, August 5, 2013

Highest Duty

Highest Duty
By Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeffery Zaslow

I read Highest Duty because I was preaching on Paul's shipwreck onto Malta. I chose this book (as well as a couple written from the passenger's standpoints) because I wanted a modern example of a similar disaster in which no one lost their life. As I read, I could begin to understand why Captain Sully has become such a hero figure and why the whole "Miracle on the Hudson" touched so many lives.

In the book, we see all the minutes leading up to and after the landing on the Hudson which happened on January 15, 2009. We also see the lifetime of experience and dedication that Sully had which came into play when birds took out both engines of American Airlines flight 1549. From his love and experience of flying from age 15, his service in the Air Force, his years with American Airlines and his work with airline safety, Sullenberger's story becomes a background to what it takes to do the impossible and save lives.

What I liked is that Sullenberger is presented as a real and humble person. There were no attempts to make him larger than life or in any way particularly special. He was dedicated and extremely focused on his goals in life. He admits that being away from his family has not always been the healthiest for his marriage or his relationship with his two adopted daughters. He quickly dispels the idea that captains are coddled by the airlines.

What I did not like was there was not one mention of God and that is what this book has to do with my faith.  According to Wikipedia (and not this book), Sully actually was a member of a Methodist church growing up. However, Sully never once gives any credit to God -- whether to thank God for making sure he had the skills necessary to land a plane on the water or to thank God for making sure no one was terribly injured in the crash. Even though the whole incident is referred to by others as a miracle, I never once read about Sully's own faith or his relationship with God. Don't get me wrong -- Sully does not try to take all the credit. However, I don't see God as being left out of such a miracle. Why did Sully leave God out? And why do we?

I highly recommend Highest Duty. And remind yourself that God is doing much more in your own life than you can ever understand or imagine -- give credit to God, too.

Happy reading!


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