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If Your Store Does Well With Donald Miller

Oriented - Gordon C. HarrisI’m always a little skeptical when a publisher suggests that, “If your customers enjoyed ______ …” they will enjoy the book being sent to me for review. In this case the book was being compared to Donald Miller, who brought a unique outlook to the world of Christian writing, and Ann Voskamp, whose blog I am quite familiar with but whose books I have never read.

But the comparison to Miller holds, and holds well; and I would toss in a Zondervan writer, Tyler Blanski while we’re at it. That present-tense voicing that sweeps you into the action and an almost stream-of-consciousness style that isn’t bound by tight chronologies or fear of tangential digression. The type of title that takes you on a journey with the author to an undetermined destination.

In this case, the book is Oriented: Making Sense of the World and Your Place Within It, the author, Gordon C. Harris, is self-described as “a modern contemplative teacher and theologian” who coordinates curriculum development for Catch The Fire, a large church in west Toronto formerly known as the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Catch The Fire is also the publisher and distributor of the book, though for my U.S. readers, it’s also listed on Ingram.*

The overarching focus is the first eleven chapters of Genesis. The various themes it suggests. The many ways in which the author interacts with those concepts. Harris has 15 years pastoral experience and has a Masters in Theology and is working on a PhD in theological studies. So this is an informed look at the earliest accounts of scripture, but not a commentary. It’s more subjective — almost autobiographical — dealing with the author’s responses to the narrative. Somewhat poetic, it belongs in a literary section of Christian bookstores that does not yet exist. 

I was tempted to review the book in the same style in which it is written… I pick up the book expecting not to finish. “Just read a chapter or two;” I have been told, and the publisher places no onus or expectation on me to write a review. But I keep turning the page wondering where the author will head next. I’m looking for a good hook for an article. Wondering, given the Genesis theme, where he lands on the creation/evolution spectrum. There is too much to think about here for binge reading. The book becomes a take-to-work companion and earns a coveted spot on my bedside table; the books I read last at night and first at dawn. The author has claimed a captive…

Below is a short excerpt reading by the author. Canadian stores can contact Jonathan Puddle at Catch The Fire Books to arrange a wholesale shipment. If you’re a consumer who landed on this trade site somehow, you can order from Atwell Books.

You’ll also find eight more video clips and more about the book at this link.

* 9781894310765 | $14.99 US | paperback | Author’s blog

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