Book Review: And the Shofar Blew

Francine Rivers, again, did an amazing job of telling the stories of several characters which made it so hard to put the book down without wondering how it was going to end. And the Shofar Blew was full of suspense and dealt with several topics including the challenges of managing a church, being a pastor’s wife and its difficulties, being a pastor’s kid and its associated challenges, ageing, death, divorce, alcoholism, among others. 

Even though the story had several characters weaving together the plot, And the Shofar Blew centred more on a young pastor, Paul Hudson, and his wife, Eunice and child. The excitement in the story began when Paul Hudson accepted the call to manage an old church that had its traditions and an ageing congregation. Pastor Hudson did bring some life into the church but they were mainly influences of his childhood and the relationship he had had with his father. Throughout the over 450-page book, the story gradually unfolds and the young pastor becomes over-ambitious and crude in his dealings and, the consequence could not have been devastating enough.

After I put the book down, my mind has been on a journey of wondering what goes on behind the scenes in our churches.  My thoughts have been on pastors and teachers who probably may have heeded to God’s call but due to increase in the numbers of their congregation, their church’s financial obligations and popularity are twisting His words to suit the people. How many men of God are preaching God’s unadulterated word that has the ability to cut hearts and save souls? 

This may not be a challenge for pastors alone but for those of us who are Christian blogging or singing or ministering in all forms. Since you saw an increase in the number of followers, have you been preaching God’s word or are massaging the truth in order to gain more followers? Do you present the message as it is or you are afraid of stepping on toes and losing your followers?

I have really been spending my week praying for pastors and everyone who has the responsibility of shepherding. It is my prayer that we keep spending time with God to know what He has given us to tell His people. There may be financial obligations but the sheep need to know God’s word. Let’s not massage God’s word for popularity sake.

The truth is Jesus Christ came to die for our sins and He is the way, the truth and the light. No one goes through the Father, except through Him. – John 14:6.

What message are you presenting to your followers?

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Me? A Pastor’s Wife? Never…

Dear Kwesi Broni,

I have been thinking about the conversation we had about a week ago. The one concerning the revelation the mighty prophet had about you – that you were going to be a p-a-s-t-o-r. Yes, that revelation! I told you I was going to think about it. I have thought through it very well, so, below is my response:

Kwesi B., I don’t want to be rude but just take a critical look at me. When you had your vision, did you see me as your wife? Or did the prophet announce to you that I was going to be your ‘Osofo Maame?’ You know I am very popular and don’t have a problem when it comes to receiving love proposals from men. Even as we speak, I have about four pending ones, which I’m reviewing. I decided to give you a chance not because you are the richest or the coolest dude, but, I just did. Did you know you were still on probation all this while? But you have already failed as a result of our last conversation. Anyway, the chance I gave you has expired. I am no longer interested in our ‘assumed’ relationship.

How can you consider me, Akosua Darling, as a pastor’s wife? I am not saying I am above that role because I know some beautiful wives of pastors. Oh, or you are thinking of starving me to death, eh? Kwesi, that won’t happen oo, that wouldn’t happen! If you are looking for someone to fast and pray for the needs of your congregation, why me? Please look for that person that you want to put on a perpetual diet for members of your congregation. As for me, Akosua Darling, I don’t think I have the capacity to intercede for some church members who may even end up gossiping about me. Even as I type this note, I have directed the new pastor, whose church is down the street, the one who advertises on the radio. Yes, that one. I have asked him to fast and pray for me. For your information, I have paid quite a hefty amount for him to achieve the results that I am seeking. Fasting is not one of my favourite hobbies.

Sorry. I digress. So how did I come to mind when you thought of somebody who was going to partner you in your ministry? I have told you several times that as a pastor’s daughter, coupled with what I have seen and experienced, I have vowed never to date, not to talk of marrying a pastor. Why? You think I wouldn’t like to see my husband on a daily or at least, a regular basis? Unlike my mum, who stayed with my dad even though he was absent almost 3/4th of our lives, I wouldn’t like to raise my children alone while you tour Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Greenland, among others, all in the name of winning souls. I want to close from work, drive to the house to come and meet my husband, so, we have a hearty conversation. I want my husband to be part of my everyday life.

“Akos, if you want to give me a heart attack, then bring a prospective fiance with pastoral ambitions to this house,” my mother has already warned me and you know I am not a disobedient child.

Oh. Did I ever mention to you how some of my friends and I take long looks at our pastor’s wife? In fact, we assess her every day. We know she likes to wear funny shoes and her attire is someway. Her hairstyle, nowadays, makes her look older and we’ve concluded it’s because her husband is never around to compliment her. The other pastor’s wife too, we think she simply overdresses, wears too much makeup and is competing with us, the young ones. She never likes to cover her hair but fixes weave that some of us cannot even afford. What makes you think she is not sponsoring herself with our offertory and tithes?

Eii! and the way some church members can also demand their daily upkeep from pastors? You have been a witness to that eh? They come for their rent, transport fare and school fees from pastors. This implies that our small earning will be used to alleviate poverty among members of your congregation. So I wouldn’t only share you with your members but my money will become the church’s money. Don’t think I am selfish, I only like to protect what is rightfully mine.

So Kwesi B., do you want me to stand behind you in posters and billboards? How can you think of such a thing? Me? Akosua Darling, on a large billboard near the Motorway, standing behind my husband and inviting people to ‘our church.’ I was seriously considering you as a husband but your plans, for me and our future, are making me cry. I want to live a quiet life, probably get married to a rich man but not to someone who will be at the mercy of his congregation and everyone. I wouldn’t know what I will do when people discuss you on traditional and social media. Do you think I don’t see how some people describe pastors and Christians on Facebook? You know I can’t pretend. I may descend to their level and make myself dirty and I know I will be in the trends forever so you, let’s call this relationship off.

In the future, I may come and support your ministry when I am wealthy. Don’t see me as selfish and greedy. In fact, you should thank God I am not being pretentious. You should pay me for my frankness (you can put that in the offertory bowl on Sunday).

However, please read this portion of my letter carefully (you can read it aloud like a confession):

I, Kwesi Broni, will never, ever mention to anyone that Akosua Darling and I were ever in a relationship. I will never get in touch with her again and I won’t even bother to respond to this letter. I am removing her number from my phone contacts. I am unfriending her on Facebook and unfollowing her on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. In fact, starting now, I have deleted her from my memory. I consider her as my forgotten ex and our relationship, dissolved. Dead. Caput. Buried. Drowned in the deepest part of the ocean. I wish her the best in her future endeavours. So help me God!

Thank you for your time. I don’t look forward to hearing from you ever again.

Your ‘dead’ ‘drowned’ and forgotten ex,

Akosua Darling.

Disclaimer: This is purely fictional and does not represent the views of the writer.

Glossary

Osofo Maame: Wife of a Pastor

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