52 Original Wisdom Stories by Penelope Wilcock

Book description:

Positive and life-affirming stories for church leaders
These 52 loosely related fictional stories about the large themes of life, nature, and faith follow the liturgical year and are an ideal resource for public worship.
Sid and Rosie are an older married couple with several children and grandchildren. Through a series of short, engaging narratives, we learn about their faith, their feelings for one another, their hopes and dreams, and their perception of how God speaks to them through the events of their lives.
Each story stands on its own; their sequence follows the rhythm of the church s year from Advent through Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and Harvest Thanksgiving. With an open tone of wonder and reflection, author Penelope Wilcock explores the ordinary and extraordinary topics of daily life: falling in love, marriage, birth, education, illness, farming, adversity, hospitality, homemaking, and work.
This beautiful large-format paperback is suitable for personal reflection or as a refreshing resource for church and small group discussions.

My review:

I was really excited to read this book and travel through the year with different readings.  I anticipated a book that I could read with my children to share wisdom from the perspective from an older couple.  However, there were several things I found disappointing about this book.

First, I was disappointed when I realized that Sid and Rosie were not actual people, but fictionalized characters.  I was able to overlook it, but it colored the interactions they had with each other, knowing that it was not ideas shared by real people, but by the author.

The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was when Wilcock equated the celebration of Christmas with other religions celebrating the birthdays of Buddha or their leaders.  In fact, I found the definition of Christmas given in the book to be a little sickening.  Although the exact birthday of Jesus is unknown, the fact remains that Christmas is when we recognize His birthday, not “the harmonizing the light of the gospel with the old pagan religion that followed the Earth’s heartbeat, the rhythm of the seasons” (page 31 from the book).  WHAT!?!

After I read that, I read the information on the back cover about the author to discover that she is a Methodist minister in the UK.  It seems that Christianity is understood differently in the UK.

The most positive thing I can say about the book is that I appreciated the depiction of Sid’s devotion to Rosie in the face of her mental illness.  Unfortunately, it would have been more meaningful if they had been actual people.

I’m not sure that I could recommend this book to anyone.  It was disappointing and disturbing on so many levels.  This is one I definitely will not share with my friends.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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