ViralBloggers was kind enough to send a copy of Stories that Feed Your Soul to me for review. I had always known Tony Campolo was a really good story teller and now I know why. He has a rich history of experience and memory for things that he is able to communicate the things he has been through in ways that touch your heart or really make you evaluate yourself in a healthy way. This book is divided into 8 parts:
- Freedom From Condemnation
- The New Life in Christ
- Intimacy With God
- The Call to Rescue Creation
- Living With Hope
- Praying In the Spirit
- God’s Plan for Us
- The Assurance We Need
Under each of these headings are dozens of stories that will impact you for the good. Some of the stories are from his personal experience. Others stories are ones that he is passing on from others. While that does get us back to the question of whether or not all the stories really happened (which is quite a valid question) they are still good stories for meditation. There are several stories that he specifically mentions not being able to personally verify (p.45 for instance) so it seems he did make an effort to do verification in some instances.
Then there are the stories. He shares stories from various stages in his ministry of things that impacted him and grew him. He tells stories about church life and lessons learned from other ministers. There are stories from his years in seminary and pastoral work. He tells personal stories from his childhood and stories about his immigrant parents. He shares a story about his arrest for protesting legislation in Washington D.C.. He tells the story of the Taj Mahal in India that was built as a burial place for a ruler whose wife had died. They were relentless in how they furnished the place and how extravagant the architecture was. Eventually, even the casket was removed in order to make the place an even better memorial to her as they made plans for how to make that spot in the building more beautiful. He asks if that is what has happened in some churches…we have built beautiful structures and spared no expense but forgot what it was built in the first place. Other stories aren’t really stories at all but are more like short devotional thoughts (p.73).
To sum it all up, stories are important in our lives because they embody deeper truths and Campolo has done just that in this book. He has told numerous stories, some like parables and others real and personal events from his life, that help us see below the surface of life to what is really important. I would highly recommend this book and even appreciate the way it is divided. No matter what season of life or place you find yourself there is something here that will be of help to you, lift your spirit, or draw you closer to God. I just wish Jim McGuiggan would put something like this together! If he has and I missed it please let me know.