I have two new book reviews for you today, and I will also announce the 12 winners of my 12 Days of Christmas Book Giveaway! PLUS: if you didn’t win, you have one more chance to win ANOTHER giveaway today! See details below.
So many books have been written on prayer that it can be hard to find one with a truly fresh perspective. But Talking to Jesus delivers on its promise, and I’m delighted with its format.
Author Jeannie Blackmer asks us to consider the interactions Jesus had with regular people as models for conversation with him today. She says, “I started to read the encounters other men and women had with Jesus while he walked on earth as prayers. They were simply talking to Jesus–isn’t that prayer?” I had never considered it from that perspective, and I love the practical application.
She takes another creative step by beginning each chapter with a fictionalized story based on a Bible passage. For example, she took the story of the leper in Matthew 8 and imagined more details about Simon’s life. She breathes life into the story by filling it in with historical details, which helps me gain even more from scripture. Jeannie is careful not to take away from or add to the words of Jesus in her storytelling, and I appreciate her wise approach.
She covers many people you’ve read about in the Bible: the bleeding woman, the Canaanite woman, John the Baptist, the rich young man, and Peter. You’ll love the way she brings their stories to life and pulls fresh truths out to inspire your prayers. This book is ideal for personal study or group study, and additional book resources can be found here.
Jeannie has won me over with her gentle voice, personal anecdotes, humility, and thoughtful questions. After reading this book, I feel like I can approach Jesus more creatively, using the stories of these biblical figures as a springboard for my own prayers.
Three people will win a copy of this book! Enter to win by subscribing to my email list at the very bottom of this post. Please let me know that you subscribed in the comments so I can verify you showed up on the list. If you’re already a subscriber, I will send registration instructions in my Tea on Tuesdays email on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. I’ll announce three winners in a special email on Nov. 22.
Do you like short stories? Do you like memoir? I adore both formats, and Walt Wangerin combines them masterfully in this unique book on faith.
Walt was a pastor in the Chicago area and spent much of his career ministering to poor inner city residents–but I think he’d say they ministered more to him. He also adopted one mixed-race daughter and one African-American son. The stories he shares of his life and the lives of those around him are powerful, beautiful glimpses of God’s work in all kinds of people, and how his healing shines through their painful wounds. The stories are a truth-in-love balm for our current cultural wars, spoken in an inimitable style and seasoned with decades of godly wisdom.
This book brought me to tears for several reasons. One, tears of repentance over my own blindness and prejudice I didn’t realize I hold onto so tightly. (I live in Missouri, two hours south of Ferguson–have you heard of it?) Two, tears of compassion for so many broken people. Three, in awe of God’s blazing displays of power in so many ordinary stories. I love the self-effacing insights, the unique glimpses of Jesus, the dramatic dialects, and the colorful characters.
Here’s a taste of his style, describing the scene after he chased down a boy who had stolen from the church parsonage:
“Know what I just did?” I said. I was a head shorter than Lucian, nor ever athletic. You can imagine the pride with which I told him everything that had happened, describing in detail my defeated adversary.
For the first time that evening, Lucian spoke. He said, “I know him.”
“That boy. His mama named him Centurion. We call him One Cent. Now his mama calls him Five Dollah, because he the onliest one left to look after her. They poor. Cain’t buy medicines for her. She need her medicines.”
If you enjoyed reading American literature in high school or college, this book will remind you of the stories you loved then. The best part is, it’s all about faith, and it has a surprisingly contemporary feel, even though most of the stories are from the mid- to late 20th century. It’s a book that doesn’t quite fit into one category over another, and I like it for that very reason. I like it most because it’s softening my heart toward people who aren’t just like me.
I received a free review copy of Wounds are Where Light Enters from the BookLook Blogger Program.
Announcing the Winners!
Many thanks to everyone who entered my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Congratulations to the 12 winners!
Debbie P. / Noelle / Marva / Leigh E. / Debra S. / Mandy F. / Mary G. / Lisa E. / Diana A. / Kim J. / Nicole K./ Emily W.
Winners, I sent you an email last night. Please respond no later than Thurs., Nov. 16 at 5:00 p.m. Central time with your mailing address. Otherwise, I will choose another winner. Your package will be sent via USPS and should arrive within two weeks of the mailing, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
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