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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Drawing Out a Handful of Light
    February 22, 2018
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Wounds Are Where Light Enters.
    Wendell Berry poured this wisdom into the mouth of one of his fictional characters:

    Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful. There is always more to tell than can be told. (Jayber Crow)

    This is always the nature of story, and in Wounds Are Where Light Enters: Stories of Gods Intrusive Grace, Walter Wangerin, Jr. has scooped deeply to tell what he could about his lifelong awareness of grace, shining in darkness and healing our wounds.

    With a glance in the rear view mirror, Wangerin recalls his childhood search for a physical Jesus there within the church building. Under the pews? In the restrooms? Certainly not in the gobbledygook of the morning service? He is encouraged in his searching by the faithful worship of his mum and the humble and sacrificial gift of a bunch-backed old woman.

    Light in the Context of Life

    An adoptive dad with a multi-racial family and with a season of shepherding an African American church, Wangerin writes as father and pastor, as victor and failure, as celebrant of a joyful faith and mourner of lost opportunities and hasty words. Theology and biblical narrative lie just beneath the surface of this handful of tales, emerging now and then into the full light of day:

    In the first covenant Gods part was to offer blessings, and the peoples part was to obey. On account of the failure of the people to uphold their part, it was the covenant itself that failed. In the second covenant, therefore, God in Christ decided to take both parts upon himself.

    Mercy hath a human face. (98)

    As with all theology, the true beauty comes in its application and Wangerins son Matthew provided numerous opportunities to explore the relationship between law and grace. Whims in him were deeds immediately, (98) but it was the tears of his dad after an overwhelming disciplinary session that melted the little sinners heart.

    Since God is the giver of lazy afternoons, (49) it follows that throwing a fish hook into an absolutely quiet lake with a fly-tying parishioner may fall under the category of ministry. Since God is the source of all forgiveness, a free gift, freely given, it follows that forgiveness between human souls should not be demanded as a law to be obeyed, but offered up freely with both parties going straight to the source of grace. (83, 84)

    Grace for Ordinary People

    Walter Wangerins stories are populated by a memorable cast of characters:

    the staunch librarian whose spine was composed not of bone but of rectitude (100);

    Billy who makes his living by the good will of others, but screamed in fury when Walter failed to include milk, butter, and cream in his donation package;

    Shrill Miss Brill, allergic to the very air she breathed, but afflicted much more by her very self.

    Only slightly less shimmering is Wangerins fresh vocabulary with its images of obdurate children, leaves clothed in umbers as dark as sleep, God as supernal parent, and the motion of perfervid dances.

    It is extremely good news for readers that young Wally grew up to realize that his wounded self, the cracks in his character that brought him shame, the broken people to whom he ministered (and who taught him what it means to minister)this is where Jesus lives. This is where light breaks through and where Gods love comes rushing in.

    This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  2. NicholasV
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Pain and Suffering Can Illuminate God More Clearly
    November 16, 2017
    NicholasV
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review was written for Wounds Are Where Light Enters.
    Wounds are Where Lights Enter: Stories of Gods Intrusive Grace by Walter Wangerin, Jr. (Zondervan Publishing; 2017)

    Walter Wangerin is a well-known Christian writer who uses his unique for storytelling and the use of dramatic and fictional elements (like his work THE BOOK OF GOD, a retelling of Gods redemption woven throughout the Bible as one story). This book, however, is more of anthology of short stories many autobiographical with the theme of the little (and sometimes big) ways that God can intervene in our daily lives. Stories such as Wangerin taking his small daughter to the largest cathedral in New York City,and using the appearance of a slovenly homeless man to teach a valuable lesson on how man makes many poor choices, but God is always watching over us and reminding that redemption is always possible. For readers who enjoy authors such as Max Lucado and his storytelling expertise to teach spiritual lessons, Wounds are Where Lighta Enter is a worthwhile read. 3 stars.
  3. Helianthus
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Powerful collection of memoir stories with cultural relevance
    November 14, 2017
    Helianthus
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Wounds Are Where Light Enters.
    Do you like short stories? Do you like memoir? I adore both formats, and Walt Wangerin combines them masterfully in this unique book on faith.

    Walt was a pastor in the Chicago area and spent much of his career ministering to poor inner city residents, but I think he'd say they ministered more to him. He also adopted one mixed-race daughter and one African-American son. The stories he shares of his life and the lives of those around him are powerful, beautiful glimpses of God's work in all kinds of people, and how his healing shines through their painful wounds. The stories are a truth-in-love balm for our current cultural wars, spoken in an inimitable style and seasoned with decades of godly wisdom.

    This book brought me to tears for several reasons. One, tears of repentance over my own blindness and prejudice I didn't realize I hold onto so tightly. Two, tears of compassion for so many broken people. Three, in awe of God's blazing displays of power in so many ordinary stories. I love the self-effacing insights, the unique glimpses of Jesus, the dramatic dialects, and the colorful characters.

    Here's a taste of his style, describing the scene after he chased down a boy who had stolen from the church parsonage:

    "Know what I just did?" I said. I was a head shorter than Lucian, nor ever athletic. You can imagine the pride with which I told him everything that had happened, describing in detail my defeated adversary.

    For the first time that evening, Lucian spoke. He said, "I know him."

    "Know who?"

    "That boy. His mama named him Centurion. We call him One Cent. Now his mama calls him Five Dollah, because he the onliest one left to look after her. They poor. Cain't buy medicines for her. She need her medicines."

    If you enjoyed reading American literature in high school or college, this book will remind you of the stories you loved then. The best part is, it's all about faith, and it has a surprisingly contemporary feel, even though most of the stories are from the mid- to late 20th century. It's a book that doesn't quite fit into one category over another, and I like it for that very reason. I like it most because it's softening my heart toward people who aren't just like me.

    I received a free review copy of Wounds are Where Light Enters from the BookLook Blogger Program.
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