A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Mark Meynell is a preacher and story teller; I'm told that he is good at both. In Cross-Examined he reflects on the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus. 'So what?' some may observe; 'There are scores of; books written about the Cross, do we really need another?' Well, let me note that this book I was well worth writing.
It isn't so much what he says - there's not a lot that's new; but it's the way he says it , (and you note I write 'says' rather than 'writes' for this book addresses the reader in the way that a good sermon does). I recommend it for reading as a devotional exercise, a chapter at a time with quiet for reflection after the reading. You can use it in a group, though take care that it does not become just another study book.
The book has eleven chapters spread over four sections. They are entitled 'Cross examined', 'Hard to accept, but hard to hide', 'Messiah: God's gift' and 'Raised to life: so live it!' Each chapter is introduced by a request that a Bible passage be read, that passage being foundational for what's to come. It is not expounded, but all that is said can be weighed against the background of the passage.
It so happens that I am writing this in mid-September shortly after the terrorist attacks n New York and Washington. Chapter 3 has a peculiar relevance; entitled 'United Nations' its focus is on sin. Here you will find Cecil Rhodes and Somerset Maugham, the Countess of Huntingdon and Madonna rubbing shoulders with one another, all against the background of Romans 3:9-20 and Genesis 2:9-3:7.
Each chapter ends with a helpful bullet point summary which enables the devotional reflection which ensues. The summary of chapter three is Sin affects everyone. Sin effects every part of us, from our emotions, thought-life and will, to our words and actions. Sin gives us all an inherited desire to "be like God" and live independently of our Creator'.
As you can see, I liked it! In act when I read Cross-Examined I found that the cross examined me.