Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
Gloria Furman, mother of three preschoolers, repeatedly says she’s writing to homemakers or mothers. In doing so, she’s targeting a specific audience --- generally a good market strategy. But in this case, her message is relevant to a much larger readership. Her context may be “in the home” and her anecdotal examples might be of domestic situations, but her insights span a wide breadth of spiritual, relational and emotional issues.
Her outline focuses on the word mundane: Part 1: “Your Foundation in the Mundane”; Part 2: “The Miraculous in the Mundane.” Though some busy people in their prime might not see or admit it, much of every lifetime involves small, maybe repetitive mundane actions that seem boring or insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I think of hair and hygiene, bill paying, house and car maintenance, and friend maintenance. Anything Furman says to Christian “homemakers” is relevant across the board.
"GLIMPSES OF GRACE is simultaneously anecdotal and deeply theological. Furman quotes a great deal of Scripture, and every chapter presents the life-transforming gospel message with a slightly different twist."
GLIMPSES OF GRACE is simultaneously anecdotal and deeply theological. Furman quotes a great deal of Scripture, and every chapter presents the life-transforming gospel message with a slightly different twist. Part 1 is so theological that some readers (unfortunately) might not persevere into the more personal prose of part 2. An ongoing theme is the centrality of Christ working in and through us. God does not ask us or expect us to strive in our own strength. For our daily strength --- our patience, our ministry, our graced conversation --- we depend on God and his work through us as we fix our eyes on Christ. Part 2 explains this repeatedly in various aspects of her/our domestic and community life, including hospitality, housekeeping, relationships/loneliness/friendships, inexplicable hardships and pain (her husband suffers debilitating nerve pain that often renders his arms useless, adding to her domestic responsibilities), the task of prioritizing, the bane of discontentment.
The hospitality and friendship discussions are particularly keen (with chapters titled “All Grace and All Sufficiency for Every Dinner Guest” and “United with Christ but Lonely for Friends”). Regarding hospitality and our personal striving: “If I forever try to extend hospitality to others using only the insufficient and limited kindness resident in my heart, then I feel sorry for anyone who ever sits at my kitchen table.” After a section on Jesus as the “true and better host,” Furman continues, “Knowing how God gives us hospitality in the gospel is not the same as living in the reality of it or being able to extend this hospitality to others.” The rest of the chapter gives chatty anecdotes as well as theological reflection.
Usual for this type of “Christian living” book, it includes two indexes --- of key concepts and words and also of cited Scriptures --- indicating that its intent is for serious readers looking to get help mucking through life’s mundane moments and tasks.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on February 19, 2014