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I’ve wrestled with questions of faith all my adult life.  I was raised a Christian, Methodist actually, and I was confirmed during my middle school years.  My baptism happened as an infant.  As far as religions go, Methodism is pretty light, at least the way I’ve seen it practiced.  I didn’t witness a lot of revivals or alter callings, no dramatic public professions of faith.  At least not in my church.  I did see those things when I visited Baptist churches.  In fact, the children’s programs I attended in those churches often contained the theology of nightmares–lots of adults asking if I was “saved” and if I didn’t know what they were talking about, I was surely bound for hell.  Don’t get me started on rapture theology.  I still can’t see a blood-red moon without thinking a trumpet will sound at any moment and Jesus will descend from the clouds with a sword.  My logical mind dismisses the thought rather quickly, but I’m annoyed that the thought appears at all.

As I worked on my bachelor’s degree in English, I read things that challenged what I thought I knew about faith.  John Milton’s Paradise Lost was a huge one.  I can remember sitting in class, sweating and heart pounding, realizing that if the creation story is accurate, God created Satan.  That changed everything.  I questioned it all.

Through the years, I’ve also wrestled with the idea that God required a blood sacrifice for atonement, for justice.  Yet we are called to forgive.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I also started questioning the idea of hell.  As a mother, I couldn’t think of a reason that I could send my child to a place of eternal torment, no matter what offense had occurred.  After all, eternity is a long time.  I certainly couldn’t understand sending someone to hell for simply struggling with belief.  I continued to search for answers.  Some people believed that hell was a separation from God by our own choice.  Others believed that being in the presence of a good God would be the torment.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is love.  Love is God.  To quote the musical Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”  Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  I often screw this up, but I’ve decided to try living this way.  Because of this choice, I’m open in matters of theology.  I recognize that I don’t have all the answers, and I’m fascinated by people’s thoughts and beliefs on Jesus, the Church, and faith.  Because of this searching and curiosity, I really enjoyed reading Leslie Schweitzer Miller’s Discovery.

I received a complimentary copy of the book.

The Story

This novel weaves two stories set in different time periods together.  The historical story fills the reader in on the background and basis for the mystery of the contemporary story.  Early in the novel, Giselle and David begin a relationship after becoming reacquainted at a Bible scholars’ conference.  Although David doesn’t share her beliefs, he respects them.  When Giselle begins a journey to solve a family mystery, David accompanies her and the relationship blossoms.  Together they make a discovery that challenges their relationship and potentially the faith of Christians around the world.

One of the central ideas explored in the story is whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene could have been married.  Could the Church have suppressed this knowledge over the centuries?  Does the Christian faith require that Jesus was unmarried and celibate?  More importantly, could the Christian faith survive without Jesus’s death on the cross?

Discovery by Leslie Schweitzer Miller

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I loved the romantic story of Giselle and David, and the mysterious elements had me turning the pages to find out what would happen next.  Every girl needs a little David in her life!  Sweet and supportive, he’s a solid rock in a crisis.  I also enjoyed the questions raised about faith and religion.  Because of my journey in my faith, I like to hear what other people think about certain points of theology and how they can reconcile that with their beliefs.  Growing up in the Bible Belt, it’s easy to forget that the Christian faith does require some major leaps to get to the belief that Jesus was God on earth who died and was raised again to life.  Some people make those leaps easily and seem to have little doubt.  Others struggle to make it across the gorge to the other side.  Some never leap at all.

In the end, it requires a lot of faith to believe something that has very little solid evidence.  One has to believe that ancient texts were translated correctly, that the correct texts were canonized over incorrect ones, that Jesus’s words were recorded accurately, that the Bible is inerrant and the actual word of God, that religion was not used to control people–the list goes on and on.  David expresses the theme of faith in the novel beautifully.  “In the end, there’s no way to know what really happened.  Ultimately, all that really matters is what you believe and the meaning you make of what you discover; after all, nothing can be proved–or disproved….All I believe in is us and the power of the human spirit.”

About the Author

(From the back cover) Leslie Schweitzer Miller is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, painter, and author.  She lives in New York City’s Greenwich Village and Blairstown, New Jersey, with her husband Bob.

Instagram: @leslieschweitzermiller

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39816472-discovery

Website:  www.lesliesmiller.com

To Purchase this Book

Discovery by Leslie Schweitzer Miller is available with Ranjilor, Ltd, and available in paperback and e-book formats wherever books are sold. Order a copy on Amazon today: Discovery

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Discovery by Leslie Schweitzer Miller

 

 

 

 

21 Comments

  1. Sounds like an interesting read! This sort of struggle is something that I think a lot of people relate to in their lives.

    • Stacey Reply

      Thanks for saying that. Sometimes as I struggle with these thoughts, I feel like I’m the only one. I tend to run into people who either have unwavering faith or completely dismiss Christianity altogether.

  2. This is a nice and honest review of the book. I will be purchasing books for an upcoming trip soon and this will be a strong candidate!

  3. Thank you for such a personal, thoughtful review. I’m adding this book to my to-read list.

  4. I think you & I could have long conversations about religions! I was raised southern baptist and was only taught that God was vengeful. As an adult, separating my church experiences from my spiritual experiences has been a challenge. But I agree with you…. God is love.

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree that we could have those conversations. It is challenging to separate the vengeful God from the God of love.

  5. I liked the personal background and then the book review. An intimate look at the struggles of spirituality.

    • Stacey Reply

      Thank you. I think what we bring to a story is important–part of that partnership between a writer and a reader.

  6. What an interesting book concept. Thanks for sharing so openly about your walk of personal faith. I find that everyone’s journey is different. As a single person, I just always accept that Jesus was single because he was busy, and compelled to do his Father’s work on earth. I have heard of lot of people bring up that question.

    • Stacey Reply

      That makes sense. Maybe he was focused on God’s work. It doesn’t really affect how I feel about the topic, though. I see sex as a basic human drive, just like eating or sleeping. If he were married, it makes him even more human and relatable. Of course, I survived the purity culture of the 1990s. I don’t see someone’s virginity before marriage as an indicator of their character or worth.

  7. How interesting! As someone who doesn’t follow any religion, I actually found this story and your review quite thought-provoking! I am curious to find out more! Great post, indeed! 🙂

  8. Stacey Reply

    This is unrelated to this book, but I just read some marketing advice from Dave Chesson with Kindlepreneur, so I thought I would give one of his suggestions a try. This is just for testing purposes. 🙂

  9. Interesting discussion on faith. I grew up in the Episcopal church and I struggled with similar questions. My journey led me to the LDS church which has some different interpretations on these points of doctrine which made much more sense to me. Thanks for the review of the book!

  10. Thanks for a bit of your own story and the detailed review of the book.

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