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The Clear Light Of Day (2007)

The Clear Light of Day (2007)

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3.16 of 5 Votes: 2
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0781445531 (ISBN13: 9780781445535)
david c. cook

About book The Clear Light Of Day (2007)

Wilcock is the author of The Hawk and the Dove trilogy, which I have read and reread. Although she’s also written other fiction and poetry, I’ve been unaware of her work. A Methodist minister who served as a fulltime pastor to six rural congregations simultaneously in England, she’s divorced and remarried and has been assigned to the Aylesbury Circuit in Buckinghamshire, England. She believes “that God speaks to us through every smallest circumstance of life.” The Clear Light of Day seems to be autobiographical, based on the above facts about Wilcock’s life. Rev. Esme Browne is recently ordained and divorced--two major emotional life events, on top of which she is assigned to the Portland Road Chapel, where she is the spiritual leader for the village, as well as two country chapels, in what seemingly would be an exciting challenge. However, in the midst of her life as a student and being religious, Esme has failed to tend her own soul. As a result, she seems to have lost hope, along with the vitality of her prayer life, and even more seriously, she's become emotionally numb. As she begins her new position, she is struggling with her faith, her prayer life, her identity, her loneliness—quite frankly, she’s not happy in ministry—or so it seems to me. Jabez Ferrall and Seer Ember, who reminds me of a gypsy (names have significance), enter Esme's life and provide refuge, friendship, and challenge to her view of life, ministry, and the church. Jabez has walked away from church because his wife had a long, lingering illness, and died—in spite of the church members coming to pray for her. Jabez and Seer are “spiritual,” without being “religious.” They present a strong anti-church position (cf. The Shack by Wm. Young—similar themes in these two books). While it is difficult to argue against the “spirituality” of Jabez and Seer, Esme’s dissatisfaction with her life and role and her seeming lack of a dynamic relationship with Christ, along with the negative church member who is very legalistic and critical, makes the gnostic worldview of Jabez and Seer very attractive. As Esme realizes her attraction to Jabez, she confronts her crisis of faith and future in ministry. If I didn’t have such stacks of unread books around, I’d reread this, looking at the worldviews expressed more closely.

This was a head-shaker. As a practicing Anglican, I appreciated the sympathetic insight into the life of a Methodist minister, (and ironically, read this after the inimitable Phil Rickman's The Secrets of Pain and I love his books, but am dismayed by the overwhelmingly negative portrait of a parish church) but found there was, if possible, too much insight in this book. Esme, the main character makes challenging decisions in the midst of crises of faith, but the first two chapters seemed to be devoted to exposition. There were also laundry lists of a pastor's schedule, which were accurate (and likely drawn from the author's calendar), but the same sense of overwhelming busy-ness could be just as well portrayed in context, or added to the plot. Just not a lot happening in terms of plot. Yes, this is a character study rather than a plot-driven novel, but editing was needed.In the end, I warmed to the story, but after all the build up, the ending seemed abrupt in comparison with the opening. A brave try, and I hope the author tries some more. I'm sure it's a good discussion book for church book clubs and for pastors, male & female. (If they have the time to read it.)

Do You like book The Clear Light Of Day (2007)?

Two lonely souls looking for love and companionship. Esme, a divorced Methodist minister, is overwhelmed by her ministerial duties and losing focus in her spiritual journey. Jabez, mourning the loss of his beloved wife, lives a simple life, but is lonely. In Jabez's simple cottage, Esme finds a place of peace and acceptance. She is also able to find a way to connect to her inner search for God. My favorite quote: "To walk with God is an unfolding rhythm of life, a wild music of many moods and tempos, embracing the shadows of doubt and disillusionment and the black dark of despair as well as the sweet blue heavens of joy and affirmation, the glorious sunset colors of the soul moved by beauty, amazed by peace." Savor the slow pace of this book and seek the insight it affords.

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