Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Miracles of Jesus :: Jessica LaGrone

Miracles of Jesus Jessica LaGrone, book coverOriginally and/or (maybe) ideally intended for group study, this 6-weeks of weekdays consideration of Jesus of Nazareth's miracles in 30 short chapters was sheer excellence for my individual study at this stage of my journey. I spent about 3 weeks with The Miracles of Jesus; some days I'd study more than one chapter, occasionally skip over a day and not open the book at all.

Classic definition of a true miracle of God probably would be a suspension or even a reversal of humanly expected rules of nature, but trying to describe the divine and subsequently limit God's grace and activity with humanity and the rest of creation has led to far too many unfaithful expressions of biblical religion, so I'll leave it at that.

"Desperate moments" refers to physical, spiritual, social, and/or cultural situations of extreme need. "Cultural?" Yes, of course—had the hosts of the first of Jesus' signs we find in the gospel according to John, the Wedding at Cana, run out of wine, it would have been complete cultural embarrassment and true disaster that would have cascaded down through subsequent generations. (If you're familiar with differences between synoptic gospels Mark, Matthew, and Luke and the fourth canonical gospel, you probably remember John's community refers not to miracles but to signs human senses can perceive.) "Cultural" of course, because by definition Christianity always is incarnational, embodied within a particular culture. Including yours, including mine, including and encompassing theirs and ours. I love how the author brings in a few of her own experiences related to the miracle under discussion, but rather than making everything about her life and testimony she does it in a way that encourages readers to search their own daily lives, helps a reader trust God's paradoxical activity to meet their needs, as well. I also appreciate her intelligently referencing critical biblical scholarship in a manner that demonstrates the scriptural text itself comes to us in, with, and under the apparent accidentals of daily earthbound life.

Book size and layout is very attractive with plenty of room to write your own notes if you desire. This is part of a series of studies from the United Methodist Church's Abingdon Women, which is almost too bad and very sad, because nothing at all in The Miracles of Jesus is gender-specific, and that information might discourage a few guys from checking it out and benefiting from it. Though I'd be willing to loan out Jessica LaGrone's Miracles of Jesus, I plan to keep this book and work my way through it again. I'd also be open to participating in a group study focused on these chapters. What else? I'm curious about the content of the accompanying video.

my Amazon Review: Outstanding in Every Way

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