Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book review

*Forgive me, friends. I reverted to my college paper-writing days...well, I was more coherent then...achieving this trancelike state (get your own lunch, kiddos!) and just writing. So, read on if you think you might enjoy this book or click onward into the blogosphere if you think otherwise. And to my homies: you may have to wait to find this book at our library...I will return it upon my return  Smiley *

P. S. Click on the embedded links to find out more about the author or the books.

p. 23...from my favorite author, Lisa Samson in The Passion of Mary-Margaret

I chose to embrace the spiritual because already, by that age, I knew I needed something more. More than coming home to an empty apartment after school. More than my tired grandmother and my tired aunt who came home after shucking oysters or picking crabs all day at the cannery. More than shoes that pinched my feet. It seemed like less effort for me to bring God into the pitiful circumstances of my life than to demand a fancy, all-encompassing do-over. I thought perhaps that might be too hard for God. I confess, sometimes I still think some things are too hard for God. I mean, deep down I think that. But thankfully there's an even deeper down. Unfortunately, crawling down into that well hurts like the devil because we know God can do something and yet doesn't, and we don't have many choices after that realization, and none of them are one hundred percent easy-breezy.

Loved this book. Love Lisa Samson...she's a Christian author...but not the sticky-sweet, contrived plot, sanctimonious sort. Oh, yeah, I said it...had enough of those books. She's genuine and she deals with ugly issues with frankness and humor...kind of what I want to be when I grow up...not an author, heaven's no...but a woman, dealing face to face with grim doubt and human ugliness with compassion and without judgment. My heart is not there, yet.

Here are snippets...hopefully just tantalizing enough without giving too much away ::

Mary-Margaret is an orphan on an island off the coast of Maryland, brought up by her Catholic grandmother and just-a-bit-touched aunt. She is told she was conceived in rape. The sisters of the island's parish educate and embrace her. Also on the island is a troubled boy, Jude, living in an abusive home. He takes a shine to her, in an obnoxious sort of way, but she is in love with Jesus. She chooses to become a religious sister, serving in many ways, but mostly enjoying teaching art and expressing herself through painting and sculpture. She and Jude follow their separate paths with interesting intersections of lives and time. We follow the threads of her faithful service to Christ, her quest to find out about her mother and father, and Jude's redemption. Mary-Margaret writes the book as a memoir to be read posthumously and describes 4 or 5 different timelines...which I must confess, tripped me up a little. 

The essence of the book emerges as Lisa describes Mary-Margaret's sweet, intimate, warm, deep friendship with Jesus. He visits her and calls her by her real name, which is never spelled out for us readers. She eagerly anticipates His visits, and He shows up unannounced to encourage her, share a cup of tea, or give her a specific task. He evades most of her questions but sometimes reveals funny little bits of a beloved's story, keeping her on a need to know basis. He honors her special requests like her plea to die while she is on her knees in prayer. They know and love each other well.

If you have read The Shack, Passion similarly helped me understand the Trinity more (will I ever get it? not this side of heaven...,) fleshing out how a relationship with Christ looks and how Our Father loves us. I liked this way better than The Shack, btwHer portrayal of Christ is the way I think He wants to interact with all of us...but we're I'm not paying attention. Questioning her grip on sanity, Mary-Margaret suggests that God may more easily communicate with those the world considers touched as they are not bound by convention and assumption.

Trading soundness of mind for her connection with Christ would be an easy choice for her...but be assured Mary-Margaret is very rational. She's funny, down-to-earth, compassionate, hard-working, joyful and steps out of her cloistered life often to get down and dirty in the muck of this world. She looks for Christ in every situation while acknowledging that we are permitted to really mess things up over and over. She questions the substance of faith out of fear vs. faith out of love vs. lack of faith.

The whole story indicates to me just how much Lisa gets it. She describes what a my relationship with Christ and my active faith can look practical, of-this-world-but-eyes-on-the-things-above terms. I knew that if by p. 23, her words resonated with me, this book is going to be used by God to entertain, encourage, challenge, and change me. Really good book, in my book. God, bless Lisa Samson.

1 comment:

Bekah said...

Is this a new one? I have been checking the library regularly for a fresh Samson no avail. Must I actually BUY a novel?? Or maybe I can just borrow from my friend eh-meh??