I greatly appreciate this collection of thought provoking essays based on questions Jesus asked. Murphy says she designed them to wake us out of our slumbering Christianity. That they do. Like the method of Socrates, God asks us life giving and soul penetrating questions to uncover what we so often try to hide.
Here is a good example:
God asks Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” Murphy reminds us the reason God asked the question. He knew where Adam and Eve were. He asked the questions because “It is we who no longer know where we are.” (Loc 603/ 4006) My favorite question is “Do you want to be well?” Murphy uses the context of sheep heavy with wool and needing shearing. Like sheep, we cannot rid ourselves of what is weighing us down. We need a Shepherd/Shearer. But are we willing?
Murphy has a way with words. Writing of creation, “Land and sea locked arms...” and of man and woman, “Fresh from the earth, the baptism of dust sprinkled from their hair.” (Loc 429/ 4006)
Her writing is a combination of personal stories, retold Bible stories, and penetrating commentary. Her work is very insightful and thought provoking. The book is definitely worth reading and contemplating. She has provided help at the end of each chapter for integrating her insights with a Lectio Divina Exercise (an invitation to put ourselves in the Bible story) as well as questions for reflection and discussion.
Murphy has a vivid imagination. She retells biblical stories adding her own details. She imagines Jesus telling a riddle. (Loc 1700/4006) She imagines the blind beggar Jesus heals while on the way to Jericho having been spit upon and slapped to sprawling. (Loc 1074/4006) Something we do not find in the Luke 38 account. She imagines Peter stepping out of the boat, encountering “glistening earth, so solid it jarred his knees and knocked the breath from his lungs.” And, “He started to walk toward the laughing Jesus...” (Loc 330/4006) That retelling is quite a stretch from the Matthew 14 account. A generation ago, an author would have been very hesitant to add imagined details to a Bible story.
While I didn't particularly appreciate her imagined additions to Bible stories I really do appreciate her insightful writing. This book is definitely worth reading and I highly recommend it. You'll receive excellent insights into Christian living and be strongly challenged to come out of your slumber.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Cara T Murphy is an American-born, Irish-bred writer and teacher. She is an instructor with Liberty University's School of Divinity. She holds a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, specializing in biblical languages. She lives in Lynchburg, Virginia with her husband and two daughters and adventures in Kerry County, Ireland.
FaithWords, 288 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.