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Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes Paperback – June 18, 2012
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— Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
—Karen Kelly Boyce, author of Down Right Good
About the Author
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Barbara Hosbach illustrates this idea well in her book Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes by using 28 specific examples taken from scripture. Each chapter is written in an easy-to-understand format starting with the scripture reading in question, followed by a few pages of analysis, and concluded with questions for personal reflection.
Some of the "fools, liars, and cheaters" Hosbach uses as examples are Rahab the prostitute, the demoniac who was possessed by "Legion," and the prophet Nehemiah. Despite these people's imperfections, God used them to do his will.
I think it is important to recognize that one does not need to be without sin in order to carry out God's work on earth. After all, we are sinners and imperfect by nature, and we should not use our flaws as excuses for not doing what God calls us to do.
As a final comment, I don't know if "heroes" is the proper word to use in the title, as the 28 men and women chronicled in this book were for the most part ordinary people. They didn't fight on the front lines of battle. They didn't rescue prisoners from the hands of the enemy. They simply did what they felt was right--and maybe, for some of us, doing just that could be the biggest act of heroism of all.
What impressed me most about this book was the way that Barbara, a retreat and workshop facilitator makes personal contact with her readers in each meditation installment. I could almost smell the coffee as Barbara figuratively sat across from me to share her own quiet reflections on biblical bit-players reminiscent of ordinary people we meet every day. She brings the fools, liars, cheaters to life, including an Old Testament helicopter mom, the wallflower who got the last laugh; the prostitute and several other "aliens" hiding in the family tree of King David and Jesus. She introduced me to the original, "Ms. Understood" and encouraged me through her account of the woman who marked her household with the Red Cord, declaring her allegiance to the One God.
Among the other heroes, Barbara ranks the disabled, doubters, a pampered beauty queen, home bodies, the rich, the poor, the arrogant, the humble, prophets, orphans, widows, worriers, outcasts, silent partners and a secret admirers of Jesus. One after another the heroes share the spotlight. Barbara recounts biblical themes that could have come from today's tabloids--marital infidelity, the role of women in society, women in the military, espionage and psychological warfare. The impact of heroic deeds by these seemingly minor characters, form the matrix that binds together the greater biblical message.
For example, Anna the prophet and widow, age eighty-four, "never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day." She lived to see the Messiah her dream realized when Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the Temple of Jerusalem. Barbara shares her thoughts on this brief description, noting Anna's youthful widowhood and long but solitary life. Barbara asks, did Anna choose to fast or was that the effect of her economic limitations? Barbara prompts me to consider the lives of local elders who frequent daily Eucharist. They were once newly-weds, but now live alone, taking consolation in the liturgy and church community. One of Barbara's end-of-chapter questions asks if I (or you) or any of my friends have ever experienced a similar, abrupt change in circumstances, and "What opportunities for spiritual growth were present in those times?" Life springs "opportunities" upon us all the time, if we see tragedies as such. Barbara reminds us to trust in God. God's grace provides guidance. She also reminds us that God selects the weak and the improbable because God sees things differently than humans do. I feel good about that.
Clearly, I will re-read Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes on a regular basis as part of a program of spiritual enrichment. The good news is that there are many more characters waiting in the wings for inclusion in one of Barbara Hosbach's future books.
If you want a sneak peak at Barbara's stories, go to [...]
Hosbach, Barbara. Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media. 2012.
(© 2013 Donald J. Mulcare)
Most recent customer reviews
An interesting book on people from the bible.Read more