Written in short reflections on pericipes of scripture, I had intended to savor Into the Mess & Other Jesus Stories devotionally, reading one per day. But, I was so drawn in and moved by Debie Thomas’s reflections that I devoured this book in an evening.
Much like a simple turn of the diamond, Thomas takes the familiar words and teachings of Jesus and offers questions and ideas that make the ideas sparkle with fresh insights and new life.
Her reflections on vain worship (Mark 7:1-8) made me re-read her biographical statement as her experience of a religious culture that eschewed ornamentation with jewelry felt familiar to me as a child raised in Mennonite culture. As a South Asian American woman who lives on the west coast, her perspectives and thoughtful exposition of the text offers challenge (“Maybe salvation isn’t’ about immunity, however much it offends our sensibilities to admit it.”) and encouragement (“do not be afraid when God’s work in your life looks alarmingly different that you thought it would”) for followers of Christ committed to applying the way of Jesus in this time and place.
And her reflections on Mary (Luke 1:26-27): “consider what it reveals about the gynecology of God, who includes the most intimate spaces and capacities of a woman’s body in the work of the Incarnation, as if to say…these capacities– the very ones that are often devalued, policed and shamed in human cultures–are precious. They constitute sacred ground. They, too, are temples of the holy.”– will continue to impact my thinking as I work on advent reflections.
This is a wonderful resource to enliven the gospels for those who have become overly familiar with the texts, finding new words of hope, inspiration and challenge for daily living.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Into the Mess & Other Jesus Stories: Reflections on the Life of Christ from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.