Sunday, October 21, 2012

And the Shofar Blew

And the Shofar Blew is written by Francine Rivers and another great story that has you feeling like you are a part of the story as well. I found I could almost relate to some parts of the story from the last few years of where I worship. Often a person will be caught up in the glamour or the 'following' from others for what they are doing and loose their way along the journey.
A young man, Paul Hudson(son of a famous successful TV pastor) and a young woman, Eunice (her father is a part time pastor in a small eastern town) meet at a Christian college in the Midwest and get married. He serves as an assistant pastor and then is called to a small dying church of mostly elderly folks in northern California. He seemed like the perfect pastor with his perfect pastor's wife to lead Centerville Christian Church. When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn't take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Sadly, instead of ministering the gospel to the church members, he wants to "grow" the church. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well.  If only his wife could see it that way.  Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn't right and it hasn't been for a long time. In the meantime, he neglects and bullies Tim, his son and wife because everything is for the church. Well, that is, his conception of "church." His sermons become shorter and more entertaining because that is what brings in the folks. All this he does because he wants to be successful like his own father to gain his approval.
Pastor Paul’s ambitious work – done in God’s name – is actually centered on himself. Those who want the Bible and Bible-oriented music leave. But because so many more are coming in, the pastor doesn't care and feels those who have left are a good riddance. Many of those who left are praying for this pastor to see the error of his ways. His son becomes so messed up that he is expelled from school and goes to live with his grandmother in Southern California in the wealthy hills of North Hollywood. Tim grows up and is ready for college and the wife is cowed and pyschologically abused by her husband. It's at this point that things start to fall apart for the pastor. 
Church growth isn't all it's cracked up to be. Not if you lose your soul, family and those friends who count in the process.   

The shofar (שופר‎) is a Jewish instrument most often made from a ram’s horn, though it can also be made from the horn of a sheep or goat. It makes a trumpet-like sound and is traditionally blown on Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. In terms of its Jewish history, it was used to announce the start of holidays, in processions and even to mark the start of a war. There are many symbolic meanings associated with the shofar and one of the best known has to do with the Akedah, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The story is recounted in Genesis 22:1-24 and culminates with Abraham raising the knife to slay his son only to have God stay his hand and bring his attention to a ram caught in a nearby thicket. Abraham sacrificed the ram instead. Because of this story some midrashim claim that whenever the shofar is blown God will remember Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and will therefore forgive those who hear the shofar’s blasts. In this way, just as the shofar blasts remind us to turn our hearts towards repentance, they also remind God to forgive us for our trespasses.


  1. I think I read this a few years ago. The plot sounds very familiar. She is such a good author, isn't she? Have you read her Redeeming Love? I just love that book.

  2. Yes and the Atonement child and the Scarlet thread. She certainly moves you along with the book to the stage where you just want to keep reading