And the Shofar Blew

booklg_andtheshofar.gifAbout the Book – In the Old Testament, God called his people to action with the blast of the shofar, a ram’s horn. God still calls his people today. In this relevant and timely contemporary novel, dynamic young preacher Paul Hudson is committed to building his church–but at what cost? As Paul’s zeal and ambition build, he loses sight of the One who called him. As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will or God’s plan.

About the Author

Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market and her books were awarded or nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books, and then re-released by Multnomah Publishers in the mid- 1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set during the time of the California Gold Rush is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association’s top-selling titles and it has held a spot on the Christian bestseller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes – all bestsellers– and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous awards including the Rita Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third Rita award for Inspirational Fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers’ of America Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into over twenty different languages and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries including Germany, The Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband Rick live in Northern California and enjoy the time spent with their three grown children and every opportunity to spoil their four grandchildren. She uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

My Review – In some ways, this book was very frustrating. As a pastor, it always pains me to read, even in fiction, of pastors who stumble and fall. In this case, Paul falls hard.

Barely out of seminary, Paul and his wife, Eunice, and their young son, Tim, move to California to take over the ministry at a church that has all the appearances of dying a slow death. Paul has served as an associate pastor at a very large church in the midwest. He was also raised as a PK – pastor’s kid. His father looms large in Paul’s life, and sadly, there’s nothing good about this shadow. He views the opportunity to take an old and dying church and build it into something God would be proud of (and yes, I mean those words, as much as it hurts to use them). He soon loses focus on the ownership of the church, the people of the church and even his own calling to lead the church.

Meanwhile, his wife, Eunice, and son, Tim, serve in his shadow, seeing him become more and more like his father. Eunice humbly serves and submits, not wanting to “rock the boat” and point out the obvious. In fact, this was one of the other things that really bothered me about this novel: no one wanted to “rock the boat” by way of biblical confrontation, pursuing biblical peace-making. No one.

When an author draws you into the story enough to get good and mad at the main characters, I think she’s done a pretty good job of writing. Francine Rivers has done just that. There may be some character development flaws, but I think their minor. I read one review of this book and the reviewer took Rivers to task for creating a cardboard cut-out of a pastor. Unfortunately, I’ve known a couple of men similar to Paul and while I think it’s almost impossible for one man to destroy a church, that one man can do a tremendous amount of damage.

Paul and Eunice have their own path to walk. God moves powerfully, sometimes even in His loving discipline, to work His will in His church. I’d highly recommend this work.

This book was loaned to me. I did not receive anything from the publishers for this review.

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