Friday, January 13, 2006

Review: Joshua - The Homecoming

Like my brother, I decided to follow blogger Rox Populi and try to read 52 books this year. I'm not sure I'll make it, but so far, so good. I definitely have 52 or more books on my list of "want-to-read." I just finished my first one: Joshua: The Homecoming, by Joseph F. Girzone.

Girzone, a retired Catholic priest, has written several in the Joshua series, where Jesus visits earth as laid-back wanderer Joshua, talking and living with people and trying to teach, heal, and change lives as he did in the gospels. I read some of these earlier books in the series when I was in junior high - Joshua, Joshua and the Children, and Joshua in the Holy Land. I remember enjoying them very much. I've always envied those who lived with Jesus as he was present and heard him "first-hand." These books seem(ed) to toy with that idea and imagine what it would be like. Theologically simple, the books always focused on God's love, God's seeking the best for us, etc., probing why people are so hurt, so angry, so ready to shove God away.

Joshua: The Homecoming just wasn't the same to me. I'm not sure if it is a change in me over the years or a change in the writing style. I found this book to have similar themes, but less of the heart, somehow. This book focuses on peoples' fears preceding the year 2000 and Joshua trying to persuade people not to worry about a violent and sudden end to the earth.

On the one hand, I mostly agreed with Girzone's thoughts about the "end times." He, through his book, urges us to consider our personal ending in death as the ending with which we ought be most concerned. But I found Joshua in this visit to earth to be suddenly very Catholic - talking, unusually, about apostolic succession, the election of a new pope, and purgatory. I know Girzone is Catholic, but previously his Joshua seemed a little less worried about such issues.

Anyway, this books is a quick, easy read if you are looking for something short and not too mind boggling. But I'd recommend the earlier books for something a little more moving.
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