Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Sherlock Holmes Devotional

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A Sherlock Holmes Devotional
Trisha White Prieb
Barbour

     I'm not usually a fan of devotionals that try to mesh secular things with the spiritual. Actually, I'm a little wary of devotionals in general because I find that a lot of people use them instead of actual Bible reading, and are more inclined to trust other authors' interpretations than what the Bible actually says. That's why, when I first saw this book several months ago, I passed it by without a second glance.

     However, I've been thinking lately that you really can't divide the world into the "spiritual" and the "secular"- God is Lord of all, even entertainment. And while I still do not at all like when people try to "sanitize" truly ungodly things, I do think that if one has a Christian worldview, then that mindset while affect how you look at everything.

     Even fictional detectives.

     So, as I was browsing netgalley (newly encouraged to try more ebooks now that I have a smartphone) I rather impulsively-and still full if misgivings about it- selected this book.

     I think what made this book work was that the author didn't try to sugarcoat or Christian-ize everything. The author was just as good in using Sherlock Holmes as an example of  what not to do as much (or even more, to tell the truth) as what one should do. I liked how the lessons weren't just drawn from the stories themselves, but also from the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or even the different Sherlockian societies today. The author never pretended that Sherlock Holmes was some sort of Christian literature, but proved there were lessons to be learned from the books nevertheless. I admit that there were a few times that there was a disconnect between the Holmes quote/example and the Biblical application where I felt the author might have been trying a little too hard to make it work, but overall I surprised by how much I got out of it. (I fully admit I was not expecting to be impressed)

     One of my favorite bits was when the author used the quote, "You see but you do not observe" to illustrate how we often read the Bible: mindlessly, taking in the words without thinking about what it really means or how we can apply them to our own lives. Her words on foolishness and society's tendency to gloss over such behavior and make excuses for it was also good. Honestly, there was very little (if any) theological points that I found I disagreed with.

     Another thing I liked was that several times she quoted theologians and pastors who lived around the same time that Conan Doyle was writing, such as Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and C.S. Lewis.

     Of course, I don't need to tell you that like any devotional,  this isn't something to replace personal Bible reading. And, while deeper than I thought it would be, it's still more on the "fluff" end of the theological spectrum. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't have good lessons to impart, and perhaps might be good companion material to use while reading the Sherlock Holmes stories themselves. Still, I would use it more as a literary resource than a Biblical one.

I received this ebook for free from netgalley.com in exchange for my honest review.

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