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Carolyn De Arteaga: Watching God Work

 

Carolyn De Arteaga, Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles (Alachua: Bridge-Logos, 2014), 192 pages, ISBN 9781610361217.

I recently finished reading this delightful book and I must admit the title threw me off just a bit. I picked up this book, I think, expecting something more dramatic and perhaps, even mystical. The term ‘miracles’ perhaps brought up for me the many stories as well as biographies of great spiritual leaders that I have read and have been inspired by.

I was not at all disappointed, but Carolyn certainly threw me a curve ball, and initially, I missed it badly. Not to imply that this book does not have miracles and inspiring stories. Quite to the contrary. It is chock full of stories and events which could be nothing but a clear presentation of Divine intervention. But where I was expecting hyperbole – she presented simplicity. I was expecting the dramatic – she made it normal. I was expecting some struggle in theological defense and presentation – she wove her way through those issues like leading a child through a crowded airport.

I was pleasantly surprised by her understatement and perhaps the strongest trademark of this book may be that Carolyn has taken that which is divine and somewhat mysterious and presented it as a part of her everyday life. I suspect that was her intent. In that regard, she truly succeeded.

I found myself (as I believe most readers will) captured by the differing emotions evoked by Carolyn’s stories. I could relate to the times of victory as well as the times of heart-rending struggle that she shared so candidly. One of Carolyn’s strengths is her ability to pull the wall down, show more humility and vulnerability than the average writer and yet not make the reader feel uncomfortable. She makes this seem so normal.

Carolyn presents this book in almost an autobiographical manner. Almost, in that is not designed to do so, but because it reveals so much of her own life and experiences. She takes the reader on a journey with her, her spiritual journey. It reveals how the miracles were formed and how the miracles formed her. To Carolyn’s credit, she discloses the hard times – the times when God did not seem to work and also the times when her theology was challenged. As she reveals in the book, those were the times that her understanding of God seemed to grow the most.

One of the exciting characteristics of the book is that Carolyn has done the extra service of putting a short study guide, complete with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I think she really wants the readers to get it, not just read it and forget it. Several of these chapters should offer up some very interesting discussion. This makes Watching God Work especially useful as a text for Sunday School and home study groups.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2014

About the Author: James Nichols is a former pastor who has led Charismatic churches in North Georgia and in Texas. He now serves the Kingdom as a businessman and mentor of leaders.

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