His devout parents — Hemingway’s grandparents had attended evangelical Wheaton College — detested Hemingway’s libertine life, and after a time his mother refused to allow him in her presence. One year for his birthday she mailed him a birthday cake and the shotgun his father had used to kill himself. Another year she wrote to explain that a Mother’s life is like a bank. “Every child that is born to her enters the world with a large and prosperous bank account, seemingly inexhaustible.” The child initially makes withdrawals but no deposits during all the early years. When the child is an adult, he must replenish the account that he has drawn down. She then listed all the ways that he should do this: birthday cards, flowers on mother’s day, and above all not “neglecting your duties to God and your Savior, Jesus Christ.” Not unnaturally, Hemingway hated his mother, and he completely rejected the Christian faith. And later he used his father’s shotgun to take his own life.

Philip Yancey (adapted), What’s So Amazing about Grace?, p.38


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