The Book of the Shepherd

In her book, The Book of the Shepherd, Joann Davis has given us a brief little fairytale in a land where many church folks live – a land of legalism where faith is expressed in fidelity to a list of rules and regulations, and failure results in harsh retribution. 

 Joshua, the protagonist in this little tale, is a kind young shepherd who believes there must be a better way, and so he embarks on a journey to find that better place.  He is joined by a young boy, David, renounced by his father for a minor failure, and Elizabeth, a slave girl who has been set at liberty.  As they travel, they met several guides (a storyteller, an apothecary, and a scribe) who all share wisdom for the journey.

 Those who have trouble with myth and allegory will probably not like this book.  If you are looking for a concise, reasoned, and well-ordered systematic theological treatise on law versus grace, you’ll not want to bother with this book.  Davis has given us a fable, a story.  It the best sense of the word, I see this book as a myth meant to draw people further down the road on their own journey out of legalism and into the grace life.  Read it with this mindset and you’ll find it an enjoyable and inspiration read.  Come at it with an overly critical mindset and you’ll find yourself very frustrated. 

 There might be another group who find this book a frustration.  They may well be comfortable with fable, but will be challenge by this stories obvious challenge to legalistic order of many ecclesiastical societies (i.e. established churches).   If order, structure, and control are the back story for your religious background, then this fables rejection of religious legalism in favor of a better way will certainly be a challenge.

 Personally, I encourage everyone to accept the challenge of reading this book.  It’s brief and easy to read and can be finished in one or two sittings.  Read it for the pleasure, engage in the reflections it brings to mind, and don’t take the format so seriously as to prevent it from allowing the fable to be a benefit.

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2 Responses to “The Book of the Shepherd”

  1. Joann davis says:

    Thank you for your comments, for which I am grateful
    –joann davis

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