Monday, September 22, 2008

Not too Heavenly for Me

Heavenly Places Heavenly Places by Kimberly Cash Tate

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Have you ever tried to decide whether you liked a book or hated it? This is a book about an African-American wife of a college professor and mother of three daughters and how she moves from self-hate to seeing herself as God does. Most of this change comes through a Bible Study she is doing with a group of African-American, largely middle to upper middle class stay at home moms. They are studying Ephesians and much of the book is their discussion of the book and quotes from the study guide they are using. That puts the book in the category of a sermon wrapped in a story which generally isn't my cup of tea, but I will say this was better done than most. I really felt for the main character and though, on the suface, this African-American wealthy attorney from a dysfunctional family and I would seem to have little in common, I was able to find some of myself in her on several occassions. It was a compelling, page-turning book. Those are the things I liked.

One thing I didn't like about the book was the theology espoused. At one point, the Bible study group is exchanging salvation stories and one of them says that she has always been a part of the church and God has always been a part of her life. The others are quick to point out that she has to have had a salvation moment where she has prayed the sinners prayer and accepted Jesus. She does so then and there--but why was she at the Bible study to being with--or attending church as an adult--if she didn't love God and want Him in her life? There were other parts of the book too where it was clear that this Catholic was reading about someone else's religion.

Another thing that annoyed me was that everthing worked out too well. The message was very much the "trust God and do His will and you will be happy here on earth". That was quite a contrast to what I heard at mass Sunday: "Pick up your cross and follow me".

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