Sunday, July 1, 2007

Quaker Summer

Quaker Summer
By Lisa Samson
Thomas Nelson Publisher
Reviewed by Monica Brand

I love summer: the days are longer, catching fireflies (or lightening bugs, as we called them growing up), camping, swimming at the shore or pool. Then again, I also hate summer: nasty biting bugs, the humidity, especially if we are camping, wearing a swimsuit at the shore or pool.

Yup, it’s all about honesty around here.
Now, on to the task at hand:

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson is a story of how one woman changed from a compulsive TJ Maxx shopper to a inner-city mission volunteer looking to downsize her home, car and lifestyle. That’s radical thinking, isn’t it? We are a society of shoppers, wanting to consume more, wading through a constant stream of advertisements to buy the next shiny toy, to spend money we don’t have. Like Heather, the novel’s central character, we use shopping like a drug to relax, never satisfied with what we have. But by the end of the book, she is no longer the typical consumer at the mercy of the latest trend. Quaker Summer, a Women of Faith “Novel of the Year,” tracks that transformation.

I was thinking Paris and Lindsey would be well served to read Heather’s story, but I’m reminded to take the plank out of my own eye first. And that’s the thing about Quaker Summer. While reading, you can’t help but examine your own spending habits. TJ Maxx may not be my weakness, but I’ve been known to go a bit crazy at Target or

Samson also challenges the reader, especially the evangelical Christian, to examine how she is responding to issues of social justice — helping the poor, homeless, the forgotten people, and how your faith needs to be active, working, doing something, not just sitting like a cold lump taking up pew space.
Social justice is one of those things I think about every now and then, in between homeschooling, laundry and writing, something else to do, another thing I’m not doing to feel guilty about. I know, I know. Bad attitude, Monica. What to do, how to help?

Thankfully, Samson is one step ahead of me. For those of us that take the novel’s message of social justice to heart, Samson, along with her husband, wrote Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live, which hits the shelves this summer. Just in time to use some of those warm summer hours to do something for the poor, disadvantages, ultimately doing it for Him.

You can check out Lisa Samson’s website here: Author Intrusion.

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