Friday, January 10, 2014

*The Prodigal*

  The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story

A preacher whose message consisted of "We've got to do better!"
A pulpit-pounder who wasn't excited about grace and truth and mercy,
but was very vocal about morality, and improving our behavior and image.
Pastor Jack intended to do right and he intended to light fires of rightness under his parishioners.
The theme of his sermons sold really well: Jack Chisholm ran a mega-church that he had built up from the ground.
And yet this hard-working preacher somehow managed to fail miserably.

One day his face is the image of Christianity, the next day his face is the image of hypocrisy and deceit. He's all over the internet thanks to a Youtube video that shows him in a bar in Mexico with his beautiful assistant.
Before Jack even knows what happened, if anything, he's been run out of his Church by his elders,
his wife and child had been spirited away into hiding from the media, and everything he tried so hard to achieve was gone like smoke dissipating.
How could something as solid as his morality have crumbled that way?
How could Pastor Chisholm be one and the same person as exile Jack the Prodigal?

This story enfleshes the message of Gospel Grace and Acceptance within a story that makes you smile and sigh and cheer for Jack as you watch his transformation.
A small town, a crew of people both understanding and unforgiving, some serious life being lived, some choices that need to be made, and a burning thirst for a fresh start all come together and sweep Jack away in the tide.
It's time for us all to stop trying to have it all together.
That's the coolest thing about this book.
We all pretend at times. We pretend things, to avoid looking like we're inefficient and insufficient and incompetent. Especially as Christians.
And it is incredible to think that, like Jack, we don't need to fear being dumped and disowned when our real, battered and broken self is discovered. God isn't going to dump us, and real friends won't either.

As one of Jack's friends says,
"Better the battered soul who lives his life on a voyage of discovery
than the timid soul who never finds out who he is."

Thank you Booksneeze for my review copy!

Greg GarrettGreg Garrett is the author of novels, including the new The Prodigal (with Brennan Manning), Free Bird (chosen by Publishers' Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the best fiction debuts of 2002), Cycling, and Shame, the memoirs Crossing Myself and No Idea, and works on theology, popular culture, politics, and narrative including The Gospel according to Hollywood, The Gospel Reloaded (with Chris Seay), Holy Superheroes, Stories from the Edge, We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel according to U2, The Other Jesus, One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter, and Faithful Citizenship. Greg is also--with Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, Phylis Tickle, Chris Seay, and other writers--involved in The Voice project, a scripture project for Thomas Nelson. Greg is 2013 Centennial Professor at Baylor University, writer in residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Wales. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family

Brennan ManningRichard Francis Xavier Manning, known as Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013)was an American author, friar, priest, contemplative and speaker.Born and raised in Depression-era New York City, Manning finished high school, enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean War. After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Upon his graduation from the seminary in 1963, Manning was ordained a Franciscan priest.[2]

In the late 1960s, Manning joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld, a religious institute committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor. Manning transported water via donkey, worked as a mason's assistant and a dishwasher in France, was imprisoned (by choice) in Switzerland, and spent six months in a remote cave somewhere in the Zaragoza desert. In the 1970s, Manning returned to the United States and began writing after confronting his alcoholism

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