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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
NEVER ALONE: A PERSONAL WAY to GOD by the AUTHOR of JOSHUA by Joseph F. Girzone
Joseph F. Girzone (1930-2015) discusses faith, prayer and God in this short book. Girzone is best known for his book Joshua, a powerful and effective re-telling of the Jesus story in the modern world. This book is a pleasant read, but it doesn't deliver the emotional impact of Joshua.
For me, the strongest part of the book was his discussion of how the modern church is great on staking out positions on social issues, but they miss "...the fundamental purpose of religion, to foster and mold spirituality among its members..." and "...to teach their people the ways of prayer and how to develop a deeper intimacy with God." (p. 8)
He continues, "We are brought up to follow unquestioningly the practices of our religion, whatever our denomination." This has value, but too often we "...are not familiar with the message as Jesus delivered it." Following the practices of a religion are a "way of life" but "...not an immediate personal relationship with Jesus." (p. 24)
Girzone goes into his personal story, which has a lot of twists and turns. He planned to go a certain way his career as a Catholic priest, but it didn't work out that way. At age 51, he was forced to retire due to health reasons. Ironically, that is when he became a much more effective minister through his books, beginning with his 1983 book Joshua. He continued on with more than 20 books, a movie, a center to teach people all over the world about Jesus, and a philanthropic foundation.
Girzone also writes about spiritual maturity and how it is achieved. If you are searching for a quick arrival at spiritual maturity, that is not the way it works. It requires "dark nights and humbling experiences" that change "our attitudes toward ourselves and toward others." Those experiences teach us about our own frailties and give us "a new appreciation of other people's struggles and experiences. This gives us a tolerance and an understanding we did not have before, and deepens our compassion for the pain and anguish others are going through on their way to God." (p. 110)
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: NEVER ALONE: A PERSONAL WAY to GOD by the AUTHOR of JOSHUA by Joseph F. Girzone.