Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: Why God Matters by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert

For an easy to digest look into how God touches us daily, pick up a copy of Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert.

In this short book, authors Fabian and Lumbert invite readers along on a journey to discover through their experiences how God can be seen in our daily lives. From Deacon Steve's story of being a reluctant convert to Fabian's story of how she stopped being a martyr for the trivial, each chapter brings the reader that much closer to seeing how God impacts our lives, as seen through the eyes of two devoted Catholics.

Before I go further with my review, I feel the need to impart a bit of information to my readers. I spent thirty years in the Catholic Church. I was baptized into it, forced to attend Mass unless I was on my death bed, attended a Catholic school for eight years, taught religious education for 10 years and directed an elementary religious education program for 5 years. My decision to leave the Catholic Church was forced by my pastor explaining to me that after all those years, if I decided to marry the Greek Orthodox man I was engaged to, and didn't do it in the Catholic Church, I could no longer practice my faith: accept the sacrament of Holy Communion. To say the Catholic Church and I parted in not a good way, would be an understatement.

Books such as these are of interest to me because I'm always searching for that nugget of faith in God that surpasses the theology and catechism to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. Why God Matters is definitely one of those books.

Each story included in this short book displays God's work in our lives. They reach beyond the rules and touch the heart. They discuss what it is like to have a relationship with God that allows us to come to Him in our times of need, knowing He will always be there. While books that discuss the Catholic faith often provide readers with dry theology, they don't allow the average person--especially one not familiar with the Catholic Church--a way to understand God and our relationship with him. Why God Matters changes that. It's written by a lay person and a deacon, both devoted to their faith, but in many ways able to express what that type of faith can mean to an individual better than straight theology or dogma.

I must point out a couple of stories that touched my heart. Chapter Five is titled, "Out of the Depths of Despair". Deacon Steve shares his dilemma as a father to be, when he prayed for someone to help him decide on whether to sign papers to allow doctors to perform an emergency cesarean section on his wife. The help God sent came from an unexpected person. Also, Chapter 14, "Influence", in which Fabian shares her husband's conversion to the Catholic faith and their son's decision not to believe. As she explains it, "...I trust in God that he will eventually find his way." Being in the same situation with my son, I understand where she is coming from.

Every chapter includes quotations, a Life Lesson, and a Bible verse. This helps to make this book a nice devotional. The book has also garnered the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.

While this book is targeted to a Catholic audience, I feel other denominations will gain something from reading this book as well. I know I certainly enjoyed it, and look forward to more collaborations between Fabian and her father.

Title: Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life
Authors: Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert
Publisher: Tribute Books
ISBN-10: 0982256531
ISBN-13: 978-0982256534
SRP: $15.95

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