Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why God Matters: A Review

With the Fall Festival finishing up and having let go of a professional obligation that I felt I could no longer manage, I said to God, "What now?" and that day, there was an email asking if I was interested in reviewing a book, "Why God Matters."  I'd tried reviewing books one other time and found the experience a bit problematic.  Materials written about faith and devotionals sometimes got so dreamy or overly sweet or sentimental that I felt pushed back and the snark in me would emerge.   I felt nervous.  What if I didn't like the book? But after all, I'd asked "What now?" and was presented with this opportunity, so with equal impulsiveness, I said "Yes."  

Two weeks passed and I hadn't glanced at it.  I forgot about the date.  It just slipped out of my brain entirely as I messed with helping my son fill out college applications, organized the schedule for the week and ran the household while my husband was abroad.  Saturday, the day I was scheduled to put up a blog entry on this book, I collapsed in exhaustion on the couch and only got up for meals.  It wasn't pretty and I sure wasn't up to reading much less thinking about anything. 

Yesterday I got an email asking if I had trouble with the materials and I recognized I had let this project slip through my fingers.  I kept telling myself "You need to get to this." and then doing other things.  Today, I sat down to be dutiful and a thousand excuses presented themselves, "You need to clean the basement, fold the laundry, read a book to your children, bake a cake, exercise, write...." but I read it.  At only 114 pages, it is a beautiful arcing and blessedly short read that acts as an appetizer to deepening one's faith.   I had to stop at several points to attend to my daughters who enjoyed the time using water colors while I read, but picking the book back up was seamless and breathlessly easy; perfect for a person like me who lives a life permanently and perpetually interrupted by life.  

The faith stories of Karina Lumbert Fabian and her father, Deacon Stephen Lumbert serve as scaffolding for the deeper mysteries they seek to articulate.  The stories and their spiritual ramifications are further buttressed with the corresponding catechism from the Catholic Church; catechism that absent the story, absent the personal context, we might gloss over and miss for it's elegant beauty and truth.  We understand the last will be first so much better in the context of the parable of the workers in the vineyard; just so we comprehend the words and mysteries and callings of God to be ever present in our lives much clearer through story than through simple dogma. My one lament was that the sketches of their lives were brief, as I wanted more detail, more story; but that would have made the book a singularly personal reflection and not a series of examinations of the truth of Catholic teaching as revealed in the moments and details of two people's faith lives.   I told my mom I felt as if I'd eaten an appetizer that could have been a whole meal, if only the portions had been larger. 

So I would recommend this read as a bedside companion or as a tome to put in one's bag of stuff for when waiting for someone, (and we all have those moments of sitting in the car on someone else's time), as a means of both refreshing the  spirit and moving one's mind to consider the faith stories in one's own life and how they reveal as all faith stories must, God's generosity, beauty, truth and lavish fidelity.   Seeing for a moment the single thread of our lives in the grand tapestry of God's vision is humbling and awe inspiring, being willing and able to share that with others is a true gift.

To Order it for yourself, click on the title here: Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life


Tribute Books said...

Sherry - I appreciate your review for showing just what the average person's life is - busy, hectic, full of interruptions.

"Why God Matters" is the perfect book for all of us who run around on a daily basis without a moment to spare. Like you said, you can set the book down, attend to something and not feel lost when you pick it back up. It works for a chaotic lifestyle.

Thank you for sharing the book with your blog readers. We appreciate your support of "Why God Matters."

Best wishes,
Tribute Books

Karina Fabian said...

Hi, Sherry,

I think we're birds of a feather! Overworked, trying to balance family and life, and a tendency for books to bring out our hidden snark! I seldom review books on my blog for the same reason. I'm an impatient reader. My pet peeve is fiction that's heavy on message that forgets the reason for fiction is STORY.

Anyway, I'm so glad you were able to find time to read Why God Matters and to share it with yoru readers. Dad and I both appreciate your efforts and are glad you also enjoyed the book.

Karina Fabian

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this! I love your page!!

Common Cents

MightyMom said...

Sounds like a good book!! You used the word lavish again....I will forever think of a bush full of blackberries when I hear that word, thanks to you!!

Psst. Did you know blackberries only grow on Old Stems? A new or fresh pruned bush won't fruit.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!