Then again, it is Commotion in the Pews…
The last contest was a complete failure. I’d better take some lessons on how to do that from my friend and agent Jessica. She teaches such things at seminars. I can’t even give away stuff lately.
On the other hand, I have had some truly excellent feedback on the posts regarding the VA, Benghazi, IRS scandals, and a few other topics. I know that those make a percentage of my readers uncomfortable, but the reality is that nothing I do is all that comfortable on this blog. I hope that every post makes you think a bit, feel some angst, feel some love, and move off the dime you are stuck on for the moment.
Part of that is my opportunity to review things for you. There’s a great restaurant review coming next week – assuming the river don’t rise – and that’s iffy right now in Minnesota. On the other hand, I can do a short book review and guide you to one of the best reads I’ve had in quite some time.
The last thing that James Rubart says when he gets up in the morning is, “I hope Joe reviews my book today. I really value his opinion.” Maybe not the last thing, but James is pretty busy and likely hasn’t put my review at the top of the list. But he’s going to get one in spades. Look out, James.
I purposely didn’t read any reviews of Mr. Rubart’s latest book, Spirit Bridge. I read it instead. More fun that way and leads to original reviews. I’ll go and read a few of them when I get done here.
I met James a year ago at a conference. Very friendly, very funny, very kind. I’ve run into him subsequently and he’s always a gentleman. That’s an important part of this review, because the man behind a book figures into the plausibility of what he writes. If he’s a charlatan and a fake, a book like the ones James writes would be forgettable adventures in fiction.
You see, James writes books about living your life in a biblical fashion. For some, that means they haul out Leviticus and start stamping rules on things. James is a New Testament kind of a guy, and he would like all of us to live the way Jesus lived. He’d like all of us to know the freedom, power, and love that God endowed us with in his time among us. More correctly, Jesus would love it if we all participated in the miracle that is His life and love.
So, back to the book (yeah, I know my book reviews wander a bit.) The Warriors Riding series of novels that James wrote concern a group of believers who realize that there are just a few valid arguments about the Bible and its authenticity. One argument is that it’s a complete lie. The next is that it’s nice stories that guide us to be better people. The third is that the Bible contains a lot of history and some fevered dreams from historical characters. The one that James has chosen for his characters is the one that fascinates me beyond my mind’s ability to comprehend the truth: The Bible is all real, the miracles are real, and we can all do the miracles in the Bible if we open our hearts to God and let Him guide us in our actions. (If I’ve got that wrong, James, let me know.)
Consequently, his characters can do the most amazing things that we’ve read about in the Bible. And as they grow spiritually they grow in power. This is not witchcraft, it’s not heresy, it’s an amassing of power right from the books of the prophets and the apostles. If (and I think it is) the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then those miracles are all for real. And God has told us that we can perform them ourselves. Some small translation issues have crept in over the years, but if you keep your eye on the prize, you will quickly see that miracles take place around us every day. We need only do our part to incorporate them into our lives.
I haven’t told you much about the books themselves, merely the underlying premise. And this review will stick to that format. I can tell you that James is a superlative writer. I was with the characters in every setting – I could smell it, taste it, feel the pain, feel the joy, and feel the evil (as well as the light.) I knew the people as my friends – and enemies. I walked the paths. And I cheered and cried for them. Most of all, I wanted to see them in the next book. I could barely wait!
And then the last book was in my hands. Always a sad moment – until I started reading. Read it fast. Beyond beautiful. Lovely. Divine. Full of promise. Best of all, it ended. It wrapped things up neatly enough that you could take the characters elsewhere and put them to work on something else. Or nothing at all, and end the character’s lives with that book and it would be a beautiful way to end a fictional existence. He uses words like small pieces of mosaics. Sometimes you don’t even know what those flinty little chips are until they are seen from a distance.
I hope that when I grow up I can write like James Rubart. His books healed my soul. They gave me hope. They made me proud to know him even a little bit. And they made me hope that what he does next is as encouraging, uplifting, and freeing for the souls in this world.
***** For you James. Soul’s Bridge is the best book I’ve read this year. (Don’t tell Jerry Jenkins, his book was pretty awesome as well, but that’s another story.)
If you are looking to read a fantastic series, hop on over to this link and get the Warriors Riding books. You will love them. Please read them in order – it’s worth the effort to do so to get the full impact. You will love the freedom and joy they bring to your heart and soul.
Thanks, Jim. They were just what I needed.