Monday, December 5, 2011

Joshua

I'm about 2/3 through reading the book, Joshua, by Joseph Girzone and it is called a modern day parable.  The main character, Joshua, is a carpenter who is gifted in sculpting statues made of wood.  He moves to a small town, lives very simply and speaks openly to his neighbors. The children are drawn to him and many adults are too; however, he meets challenges for his frankness in discussing religion.  He doesn't set out to discuss religion, but he doesn't shy away from answering questions on how Christians "got it wrong" by recreating all the rules and traditions that force a form of bondage in their congregations.  He talks again and again how Jesus came to set people free to love God and not get caught up in a church's structure.   He visits many different churches, including a synagogue, which confounds and frustrates the people he meets.  They are mystified by his ability to discuss the time of Jesus to the problems in our current churches.  His directness has earned him many friends and a few enemies.  The challenges he faces come from the religious leaders of the community.

I am at the part where the religious leaders are feeling threatened by his influence over the people of their churches and town.  It's obvious from the beginning, that Joshua is really Jesus who has come back to our modern age.  I'm unsure of the ending but I'm hoping it's not some form of a modern day nailing of the cross.  I like this character very much and I'm hoping he doesn't go through the pain and suffering that Jesus did over 2,000 years ago.

Has anyone read this book?  My son read it at school and recommended it and in fact, hounded me to read it so we could discuss it.  I'm anxious to get to the end but also to learn who is this author, Joseph Girzone?  And what else has he written?

Blessings,
Noreen

13 comments:

  1. There was quite a bit of controversy about this book a few years ago...can't remember what it was, just not to read the book....something about maybe something about how Jesus was portrayed? I don't know, but I'm interested in your take on the book when you are finished.

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  2. I was wondering about that Jamie! I've read a bit further and Joshua(Jesus) is portrayed as a simple, humble person who loves God and spends a great deal of time praying and teaching the Good News. What is evident in the book, is that Joshua sees good yet much bad in organized religion. Not just Catholicism... many denominations. When I finish it, I will let you know. I'm very curious to know the author's background. My hunch is that he is not a Christian.

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  3. Noreen...I read this sooo many years ago at least twice and I really liked it at the time. I don't know if my take would be different since spiritually, I am at a different point. Joseph Girzone was a Catholic Priest who, after retirement, began writing the *Joshua* series. I do remember controversy, but I couldn't tell you why.~Theresa

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  4. The author is actually a retired Catholic priest...who is not highly regarded as a either writer or a theologian. You might want to read this discussion of his books at Catholic Answers Forums (scroll down there is a link to an article written by Amy Welborn). http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3949576
    God bless!

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  5. I've been putting off responding to this for a few days. I've read the book--and actually all the others--and I'm NO fan of Girzone. Besides the fact that he's not a very good writer, I think he has an axe to grind; Joshua is the Feel-Good Messiah who tells everyone that rules don't matter, you can do what you want and think what you want and still consider yourself a part of the Church, and so on. Read the Amy Welborn article referenced above.

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  6. Theresa~ thank you for responding to this. It does give the feeling that the individual person should choose what they believe without interference. But we do need the church! We need priests who have devoted their lives to spreading the Gospel and who can consecrate the host and wine. We need them to teach us about Our Faith. The book seems to say otherwise. Still not finished.

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  7. Thank you Joan. I will read it today!

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  8. Barb~ you said it perfectly. He does seem to have an axe to grind against organized religion. At this point, he seems pro-Jewish and my first guess was that Girzone was Jewish. I will check out the article Joan mentioned.

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  9. I was just about to make a note to read this book but now after reading the comments I am more hesitant. I would still read it, but I'm glad to be forewarned about a possible anti-organized religion agenda behind it.

    Any recommendations for good Catholic adult fiction? I haven't had much luck discovering Catholic fiction books for adults. Would love to take a good book along on our upcoming trip.

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  10. I read many of the Joshua books and loved them. I read them when I first converted to Catholicism and maybe I was such a newbie I missed something. But rather than turn me away from church, it turned me toward the church. And toward Jesus. Many other people I know have felt the same way.
    The first Girzone book I read was called "Never Alone." It was non-fiction and it really led me to pray more.
    I think Girzone is a simple writer who tried to send a simple message about Jesus and his unconditional love.
    My advice - read the books and decide for yourself if you like them or not.
    Tricia, Ellen Gable writes great Catholic fiction.

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  11. Thanks Colleen! I did ask my parish priest his thoughts on the Joshua books and he likes them. In fact, he uses the Joshua DVD with his eight graders so, I put a hold on this DVD to check it out.

    I will have to check out Never Alone and the other author you mentioned. I did a quick search for Ellen Gable and sadly, she's not in my library system.

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  12. I am sorry. I should have told you that Ellen is a Catholic blogger, too. Her books are on her website and amazon.com and other places, I think. Here is her blog - http://ellengable.wordpress.com/
    I read Stealing Jenny. Could not put it down and I do not read much fiction any more. I think she has a contest going on right now to win one of her books. Please let her know I sent you!!
    Glad to hear your parish priest likes Joshua books, too. I cannot remember if I saw that DVD or not. Let me know how you like it.

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  13. I just went over and entered and mentioned your name Colleen! Thank you!

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