God*Stories by Andrew Wilson
David C. Cook
Jeremiah goes further and prophesies that the ark will not be rebuilt, or even pined for, in the age to come. So, though many speculate about it, and Indiana Jones thought he found it, the ark of the covenant is not on earth any longer. Instead, it is exactly where you would expect it to be:
Then God's temple in heaven was opened and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and heavy hail. (Rev. 11:19)
Presence and distance, grace and holiness. That's the ark. That's our God.
I chose the quote above because I think it's a good example of Andrew Wilson's ability to simplify stories from the Bible, but with a touch of humor. God*Stories is really incredibly fun reading and was the book that helped get me out of the minor reading slump I went into after my son's automobile accident, last week.
Unfortunately, I still haven't quite finished the book and the day is ending, so I decided to go ahead and write about what I've read. I don't have far to go, but I know I'll end up staying up late to finish if I don't write something (and, believe me, God Almighty knows this is one week Bookfool could use some extra rest).
Basically, God*Stories is just what it sounds like -- stories from the gospel, retold in plain language and explained by a theologist and teacher. I found myself reading aloud from God*Stories, quite a bit. No! Not to myself or the cat! I read to the family, this time.
The previous post contains a "sneak peek" chapter, so read the free chapter if you're intrigued. I mentioned my absolute favorite bit in that last post -- the part about inheritance, a chapter entitled "The Seed". It's kind of a complex chapter but it makes total sense of something that has always baffled me, and the author bases his explanation on the difference a single letter makes -- that the Bible says "I will give this land to your seed," singular, rather than seeds, plural.
That the God of All Creation seemed to actually encourage a land dispute always perplexed me, and that particular chapter explains why pretty much everyone (at least everyone who has ever tried to explain it to me -- I don't know about the rest of you) is off-base. I'm not going to go into detail, but I will say that I think if you find that concept confusing or you wonder if that bit about the Ark of the Covenant in the Indiana Jones movies is really close to the truth (because it sure does sound like it, given the excerpts from the Old Testament) or you just don't get the whole lauding of a guy who died a torturous death and why on earth He alone is the single avenue to heaven or . . . you know . . . things as "simple" as what the heck is grace? These are the concepts Andrew Wilson explains in God*Stories.
4.5/5 - Occasionally, I've gotten bogged down a bit, but I just love this book so much that it gets a high rating. I think the author does an excellent job of explaining some tough Christian concepts -- and he does it with flair. I'd say of all the books I've read, this year, God*Stories is one of the Top 5 Books That Made Me Want to Hop A Plane to Go Have Coffee With the Author and Quiz Him for Hours. That would mean lots of very tall cups of coffee. I think you get my drift.
Incidentally, there are "Coffee Breaks" between some of the chapters in God*Stories -- bits of extra information added to give you ideas where you can go if you want to study further, reminders of how or when it's a good time to stop and pray. They're very brief but I did a good bit of marking because I thought some of those references for further study sounded really interesting.
Up next is The Missionary by William Carmichael and David Lambert. Because I'm exhausted and can't read my own calendar, I haven't started to read The Missionary, so I'll post the sneak peek and try to get a review up by the end of the week. I'm going to go ahead and put the book in my sidebar, then get started on it. I have three tours, this week, including God*Stories and The Missionary, and then nothing specific scheduled for the rest of the week so, hopefully (please, God, please) I will be "caught up" by the end of the week.
For now . . . I'm thinking forty winks. Twenty would do. A few sheep jumping over fences, a soft pillow. Wait! I had the coolest dream, last night! I dreamed a 1940's romantic comedy. There was a woman in a dress suit with huge lapels and shoulder pads, wearing a funky hat and saying things like, "Oh, dear! What shall I do?" Two men were interested in her but one was definitely not a good man, although he was slick and she couldn't help but swoon a bit. The obvious choice was played by a young Cary Grant. He was a little clumsy and rough, but true of heart and kind. Gosh. I want to go back there. That was a fun dream.