A debut Christian devotional prompts the faithful to re-evaluate their beliefs.
In her book, Stevens repeatedly insists to her Christian readers that their faith in God is supposed to uplift them, not fill them with anxiety. She assures them that God is a “good father,” not a “Godfather” who’s “just waiting to break” their kneecaps the minute they do something wrong. This and other fundamental misconceptions, the author contends, are mostly the product of poor religious instruction. They are the fallacies of “churchy people,” resulting in the guilt and misconstruing that so often combine to drive people away from their faith. She offers in her work some “portals & pearls” that can lead readers back to God’s promises and wisdom. And she writes from rough personal experience, derived from bitter periods in her past: “I had become my own body’s biochemist, concocting a chemical cocktail of death and destruction.” She breaks down her devotional lessons into “pearls,” moments of insight, and she illustrates them with anecdotal stories designed to bring her points home. For example, an old donkey named Earl is thrown down a well and covered in one spadeful after another of dirt but uses the soil to build steps to get back up into the light (“Slowly but surely, shake after shake, step after dirt step, old Earl ascended to the mouth of the pit until he eventually just stepped out and escaped the mean farmers!”). The stirring, colorful tales help to ground the volume’s more biblical explorations, which are often very thought-provoking on their own, particularly when Stevens refers to the Old Testament. Citing the Old Testament story about the burning bush, she writes: “This radiant reality of God’s presence aflame in the spirit of a believer was possibly foreshadowed in the story of God appearing to Moses in the burning bush.” Christians will find a great deal of such passionate, detailed faith talk in these pages, and the many lively accompanying tales should make the reading experience all the more enjoyable.
An appealing, story-laden collection of “pearls” of Christian wisdom.