Joseph F. Girzone retired from the active priesthood in 1981 for health reasons and embarked on a successful second career as a writer and international speaker. His bestselling books include Joshua: The Homecoming, A Portrait of Jesus, and Never Alone. In 1995 he established the Joshua Foundation, an organization dedicated to making Jesus better known throughout the world. He lives in Albany, New York.
Girzone's beloved and bestselling Joshua series continues with Joshua retelling Jesus' parables with a modern twist. Believing that the "zing" that Jesus' parables had in the first century has been lost in the 21st, Girzone, a retired priest, has the Christ figure of Joshua presenting New Testament parables in an up-to-date cultural interpretation. Among other things, Girzone takes on homosexuality, corrupt clergy, materialism, women's roles in the Church, capital punishment, feelings of inadequacy and the censorship of theologians. A few of the parables are indeed "zingy," especially those addressing age-old problems such as racism or more contemporary issues, including movie violence and Christianity's uniqueness among other religions. One of the gems worth digging for is the "Parable of the Self-Righteous Man," in which Girzone tackles our culture's predilection for do-it-yourself religion and insists, "You cannot become truly holy all by yourself. Holiness is love. It is knowing and loving God and his creatures." Other parables fall flat. For example, in the "Parable of the Ark," the Church is rather blandly compared to Noah's ArkÄit is often unpleasant, but still the only way out of the storm. Fans of Girzone will be delighted with another Joshua read, although it's not quite up to par. Those who are unfamiliar with the series would be better off reading an earlier installment. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.