Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: Sacred Relationships

There are plenty of books on spirituality around, some on Jesus and spirituality, others on the Apostle Paul and spirituality and others on different aspects or spiritual practices such as fasting, almsgiving, lectio divina, and so forth. However, I have come across few books dealing with spirituality and relationships in the Old Testament. This new book published by Liturgical Press (2013) is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to dig deeper in the Old Testament in order to build stronger and closer relationships with God and neighbors alike.

Rabbi Michael Barclay is an ordained rabbi and a lecturer. He is the spiritual leader of the New Shul of the Conejo. He has an easy to read writing style and since he is a rabbi and spiritual leader and lecturer you feel like he's right in the room with you as you read. There are few difficult theological terms and when he does use them he explains what they mean. There is also a glossary in the back of the book for a reference.

What I liked most about this book is that it deals with a very important part of the Bible which is by in large neglected by Christians. It is hard enough getting parishioners to read the New Testament let alone the Old Testament which is almost four times as big! For many people the Old Testament is scary; strange names and stories pepper the pages. Yet Rabbi Barclay chooses almost a dozzen of the more poignant and perhaps palatable sections of the Old Testament as points of reflection. We learn about Ruth, the Psalms, Job, Daniel, Esther, and more. This is not a scholarly exegetical work so do not fear that you'll have to read page after page of footnotes or scholarly debates. After providing a brief overview of the book or passage Barclay provides the reader with a handful of key insights for the reader to reflect on.

This book is truly a gem. However, after reading it I really wanted more! I wanted Barclay not just to keep going, to provide more insight but I wanted him to go a bit deeper in the text, to pull out some more pearls of wisdom. Since he is well versed in Hebrew exegesis and the inspirational writings of the Talmud and the various sayings of the rabbi's I really wanted to know more about Ruth, Esther, and the like. I could easily envision another volume perhaps dealing with the other books of the Bible, providing more insight and inspiration for readers, especially Christians who are lacking in the Old Testament.

If you are searching for a sound Biblical reflection on building stronger relationships and healing the broken ones in your life then take and read Sacred Relationships, you won't go away disappointed.

For more information about Sacred Relationships click on this link 

To learn more about Rabbi Barclay click on this link