“Encounters: Stories of Healing” by Randy Hill {Book Review]

Isn’t  it time for a break? With all the stories in the news, it seems a fitting time to write a review of a book called “Encounters: Stories of Healing“.  The book is a collection of short stories and it is written byRandy Hill.

I had the pleasure of seeing Randy Hill, a week ago. He came to my church and gave an entertaining talk. On the second day, Randy gave some hints about the content of this book.  As a writer, I was intrigued by his presentation; so I made certain to snag this book.

What is this book about? It is definitely not about politics or social justice.  I mention this because I’m probably not the only person to be wearied by the deluge of such articles on social media.  For me, it seems this book will be a refreshing change.

The reason for my vagueness is, I don’t want you to rush to conclusions and not see for yourself. Each short story centers around someone, who met Jesus, in the New Testament.  One story tells of a man, who is born blind.  Why would I pick this story? Is it because I was born with disabilities?

As I read Randy’s refreshing take on John 9:1-41Why refreshing? For one, it is an honest take on the events surrounding the blind man. I almost expected the guy to whack the disciples on the head; as he is very much within hearing distance. Of course, I did not expect his reaction to Jesus putting much on his eyes. Though, I should have expected it.

You will have to read the story for yourself.  It is well worth the chuckles and the story provides some fresh insights that I’ve rarely heard in churches, today. Of course, this is not the only short story in this book.  There is one called “The Water Girl” and I’ll let you figure out the story’s plot.

As Christians, we have a terrible habit of whitewashing or sanitizing the Scriptures. Hey, I’ve done it too. When it came to King David, I did not see an ordinary person and I could not relate to his story. So, I really didn’t bother with it.  It just did not seem “down to earth”.  Do you see the irony?  David’s story is very real and down to earth. How did I come up with my earlier misconception?  It was the church culture that I was in.

For me, Randy Hill’s book would have been a refreshing change. I’d have been greatly helped in seeing each story’s main character, as a relatable human being and not someone sitting on a pedestal.  I have read a few of the stories contained in “Encounters: Stories of Healing” and it seems that I met them, for the first time.

Yes, there are touches of humor in some of these stories and I’m sure you will enjoy it.  You will also discover that it is very easy to imagine these stories happening in today’s society.  Each short story is written in today’s language and have many modern cultural references.  You won’t miss it in the first short story; as it relates to another blind man.

You’ll be happy to know that Randy does point to the original story in the Bible. You will find it, under the chapter headings.  That’s not all.  There is a section called “Points to Ponder” section, for  each chapter.  In it, Randy asks some intriguing questions for your consideration.  You can use these questions for your own benefits or in a small group setting.

For me, the book serves as a fun read and a nice change of pace.  I hope you will buy “Encounters: Stories of Healing”; as I am certain you will enjoy it. The book contains 25 short stories; so you should not get bored.  Enjoy!

 

Barry Brindisi

Author of "You Are Not A Lesser Human".

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