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It's OK Not to Know Everything
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Wes Avram
Where the Light Shines:  Discerning God in Everyday Life (Grand Rapids:  Brazos Press, 2005. 156p.)

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Wes Avram is a Presbyterian pastor who also teaches preaching at Yale Divinity School.  This thoughtful book developed out of a series of sermons on practical application of the Christian gospel to daily life in the post-modern era.

It appeared from the sub-title to be about perceiving God in daily life, perhaps a practical guide to daily meditation in a busy life.  And to some extent that is the focus.  But it involved more than that.  Avram deals reflectively with possibilities for interpreting the core meaning of the Good News, and practical implications in real-life situations.  He builds his topics around anecdotes that arose in his experience with people.

Avram also ends with what he calls an Epilogue, which is an interpretation of what preaching is and how to approach it.  He sees the art of preaching as a practical engagement of the ultimate, a mediation of the reality behind the visible activities and feelings and challenges of life.  The preacher is seen as the humble focus for a divine word.

He emphasizes that the preacher has an awesome, humbling role, and realizes - or should realize - that any value in his words is beyond himself, but arise as he/she becomes the channel of divine happening in the spoken word.  That somehow the human words, the result of study and preparation, of prayer and uncertainty, of awareness of need, becomes a word from God when proclaimed.  He concludes that the preacher gains an assurance and confidence from knowledge that his own efforts and words are not the focus and purpose of his task.

Rather his words point to the reality of the Divine which underlies and involves everything in our lives.  These philosophical insights, fully practical in implication, were a bonus in an already valuable collection of reflections on regular events and life-challenges that take on ultimate meaning and value when seen in terms of the Word of God, the life of Jesus Christ.

Avram assures us in a new, practical manner that the Incarnation message is still current and practical.  It just gets obscured sometimes by the church and all its in-talk and organized self-sufficiency.  You don't have to be a preacher to enjoy this book.  It provides a practical, workable philosophy grounded in the full awareness of human inability to master the ultimate.

Avram assures us it's OK not to know everything! The reader will experience an inspiring reminder of the immensity of God's involvement in our complex modern, changing, confusing world.

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OBJ

First written 6 August 2006
Posted on Thoughts and Resources and Amazon.com 12 October 2006

Copyright © 2006 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

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