And the Shofar Blew
Before my vacation last month, someone gave me And the Shofar Blew to read. I don’t read much Christian fiction, and I’ve never read Francine Rivers before. As I started the book, I wasn’t sure it would be one that I would enjoy. It’s about a young pastor who’s called to a struggling church. He transformed the small church into a vibrant one, while dealing with family issues, resistance, and conflict with leaders. The novel hit too close to home at times. In the end, both Charlene and I read the book, and it provided some structure to talk about some issues around my vocational ministry. It’s a book that can lead to all kinds of discussions about pastor’s families, the church growth movement, how to discern God’s leading, what success looks like in ministry, the demands of church life, and ultimately about the soul of a leader. Some passages hit home pretty strongly:
Maybe it’s easier to pour our efforts into building a house for God rather than building a relationship with Him. One requires a few years of hard work, but the other asks for a lifetime of commitment. The problem is, the building becomes the idol we worship. The programs are the sacred cows. Numbers are our means of evaluating our success. And it’s all about vanity. Vanity, vanity…
It was frightening to observe the subtle erosion of integrity in the life of the main character, a supposedly successful pastor, and yet realistic enough to know that this type of erosion can easily happen with anyone. This book’s had pretty good reviews from other people who have read it. I’m not sure it’s an enduring work of literature, but I found it helpful in evaluating what’s happening in my life. If you’ve read it, let me know if you found it challenging and in what areas.