Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Book Review: Glittering Images

A while back a fellow CREC pastor recommended Susan Howatch's book, "Glittering Images", the first in her "Church of England" series. I just finished the book a couple of days ago and can recommend it to you with a few caveats.

The book is set in mid-twentieth-century England and centers on the life of an up-and-coming priest in the C of E. In this book Howatch displays a profound understanding of the human psyche, true spirituality and the devasting effects of sins such as hypocrisy, sexual immorality, father-hunger and deception. The book could also be considered a primer on Biblical counseling as pictured in the minstrations of the Fordite monk Jon Darrow.

The book is well-written and filled with many a plot twist and/or suprise revelation with a satisfying development of the "glittering image" theme from beginning to end. I was in "story" grip" by page 50.

The caveats: If this book were a movie it would probably be rated "R." However, having said that, the steamier scenes were neither gratuitous nor pornographic, and one could argue "necessary" to the proper development of the story. I would also take exception with what seems to be portrayed as the Biblical qualifications for a man in the ministry. But, even with these misgivings, I would still recommend the book to the mature, discerning reader. Entertaining, and lots of "grist for the mill." A good reminder that life is messy, sanctification is long, slow and hard. And that true healing comes through prayer, honesty, humility, repentance, forgiveness and self-denying love.

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