Monday, May 8, 2017

BOOK REVIEW - Jesus: The Story You Thought You Knew

How's your walk with Jesus these days? That's really the question that Deacon Keith Strohm wants to know.

In his new book, Jesus:The Story You Thought You Knew  (Our Sunday Visitor) Strohm retells the story of salvation from Creation to you - explaining it in an easy, accessible way. It's a bit like being on the road to Emmaus and having Jesus break open the scriptures that explain who he is, why he came and why he died and rose again.This isn't a long book, but it's one to spend time with.

Strohm preaches it. This is not so much a narrative, but a series of engaging, evangelizing tracts. The book reads like a collection of extended homilies with a purpose. Each chapter is a powerful encounter with the truth of the kerygma, from the story of Creation to the Cross and beyond. All this is presented with the fervency of witness, by a man who has walked the journey himself.

Strohm, former director of the Office for the New Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a protegee of Sherry Weddell (Forming Intentional Disciples) and the Siena Institute, has, with this endeavor, put his own voice out there as he strikes out on a new part of his own journey, an independent ministry, M3 Ministries, which is in development.

In this short but powerful book, each "Act" of the story, as he refers to them in "How to Use This Book," is an invitation to a journey -  one that begins with Strohm laying out the scriptural background and its meaning. He then adds theological implications and includes stories and examples from his own real, imperfect human life, ending with an invitation to reflection on pertinent scripture passages. The chapters conclude with life implication questions to consider individually or to use in group discussion, which means it could be used for evangelizing older teens, adults, or as part of RCIA pre-catechumenate sessions.

Once the reader has encountered the meaning of the Great Story, he/she is invited into relationship with Jesus - to repentance and participation in the sacraments, to openness to the Holy Spirit and finally to discipleship and action.

This is a book to savor and study. If the reader takes the time to go to the scripture passages, to read and pray over them, there is ample opportunity for conversion. There is real potential for becoming a disciple who understands who Jesus is, why he came, and what he means for us today.