ONE HUNDRED TONS OF ICE AND OTHER GOSPEL STORIES

Lawrence Wood, Author . Westminster John Knox $14.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-664-22687-9

A modern Scheherezade, this gifted United Methodist pastor unspools a series of compelling stories as he seeks to draw out the presence of God in the historical, the legendary, the ordinary and the bizarre events of human life. Enriched but not overloaded with personal experience, this collection of sermonic tales is loosely organized around the seasons of the year. Though he entices the reader with engagingly anecdotal reflections on cultures as diverse as old society Newport and gossip columnist Louella Parson's hometown of Dixon, Ill., the essayist has a larger goal in mind. With an engagingly approachable style, Wood continually draws the reader back to meditate on and sometimes grapple with the contemporary meaning of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Whether he is using his hometown IGA supermarket to illustrate the virtues of simplicity, or President Thomas Jefferson's abridged Bible to bring home a point about the complexity of scripture, he has an elegantly minimalist turn of phrase. It says all he wants to and no more. "There is one light, one person who illuminates that darkness, one person who shines constantly after our resources are gone," writes Wood in an essay on Christmas lights. "There is only one, and we need only one." Wood's biblical erudition blended with his concern for contemporary environmental and social issues should help him appeal to both evangelical and mainline Christians. This debut collection has the potential to be a book for all seasons. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
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