I had one more gift certificate to use from a bookstore, and I knew I wanted a piece of fiction. Correction, I really wanted the book "It Happened In Italy," about a town in Italy that defied the Nazi's and took in and hid victims of the Holocaust. That book, however, was 25 dollars, and I had a 10 dollar gift certificate, so that would be pointless.
I picked up a copy of Francine Rivers' "and the Shofar Blew," because :
1.) I love Mrs. Rivers' writing style
2.) I know a song about the Shofar.
Seriously. About 3 years ago, my friends Jessica and Katie worked with me at a Synagogue running their childcare for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. Don't ask. It's a very long story. However, we were exposed to a different culture and got to learn a neat song about the Shofar.
I dove head first into the book, which reminded me slightly of a book I have read before. The premise is about a small dwindling church with an aging congregation, that needs a new pastor because theirs is retiring. The new pastor, his lovely wife, and toddler son come to the church and accept the position. The rest is a great look into churches, church leadership, pastoral priorities, and how our own ambition can get in the way of what God wants to accomplish.
It was heart wrenching at times. This isn't a "make you laugh," type of book.
But it is a "make you think," type of book, and I have definitely come away thinking about what the purpose of the church should be. Mainly, I have a new respect for churches that grow in the depth of their congregation instead of the size, and that stick to teaching instead of entertaining.