The Story Luke Tells

Most of my small library consists of books related to Biblical study. I recently purchased this small (129 pages) used book with the intent of putting it with the other reference books. But I have decided to summarize it for you. Once I started reading I could not put it down.

An introduction to Dr. Gonzalez, taken from the Wesley Theological Seminary. Dr. Justo L. González was born and raised in Cuba where he did his first university and seminary studies.  In 1961 he became the youngest person to be awarded a Ph. D. in historical theology at Yale University.  He is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacraments by the Methodist Church. For thirty years he taught in a variety of theological institutions. Justo has written over one hundred books. I will add that his wife, Catherine, is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

I assumed the book was a commentary on the Gospel of Luke, but it is a description of the essential elements of both GLuke and Acts. In eight chapters Gonzalez describes Luke’s belief system regarding humanity, Israel, great reversal (servant king, etc.), gender, salvation, drink (and food), worship, and the Holy Spirit.

Luke focused on women, starting with Mary and the birth story and ending with the women who went to the tomb. Matthew and Mark never call Jesus Savior and GJohn uses the address only once. Luke has Jesus eating and drinking more than the other three combined. Luke includes many acts of worship, including the detail that his family attended Passover every year. Luke also includes 76 references to the Holy Spirit in his two-volume account of Jesus and the early church.

Nearly every page gave me a new look at Luke and a greater respect for his gift to all of us. While much of his writing is available in Spanish only, there is plenty left for we anglos to read.

Mike Lawrence

A Rule Against Murder

This is book four in Penny’s series about Chief Inspector Gamache. There are 17 as of now.

As you may know, Quebec Province is largely French-speaking and the government is French in nature, including the police which is the Sûreté du Québec. The fictional Gamache is in charge of the Sûreté murder squad. Like the US states, Quebec is part of the Canadian Government and conforms to national rules.

In this story, Armand Gamache and his wife have booked themselves into a beautiful and isolated resort to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The rest of the resort is taken up with the Finney family reunion. The family is wealthy and entitled. As the story progresses Gamache sees darkness behind their masks. When a crashing rainstorm strikes, so does a murderer. Gamache calls his squad and returns to work.

While suspects abound the “how” question remains blank. Yes, Julia was crushed by a statue, but how did several tons fall off the pedestal?

Louise Penny writes rich narrative. The murder does not occur until the end of chapter 11 because she wants us to know the family and the staff. Not all of the staff, just those who become suspects. Few authors can keep my attention that long without more action, but Penny paints pictures. She is one of those people who could rewrite a phone book and make it interesting.

Nor does she rush to judgment. Additional storylines are fleshed out and added as the investigation goes forward. Gamache himself struggles with the memory of his long-dead father.

If you have it all figured out before the climax, congratulations.

Five stars.

Mike Lawrence