Book: Humanly Speaking - Conversations with God by Linda Swiftcategories: Book, Bible, Religion, Flawed Character, Perplexing Events, Questions, Mary and Martha, Job, Jezebel, Joseph, Noah, Cain, Judas, Prose Poems
Linda Swiftabout this book: Humanly Speaking, a book of prose poems, began with a poem titled "Invitation To Lunch." I had always felt a need to add a protest about the story of Mary and Martha. I understood that Jesus was emphasizing the need for us to put first things first and used Mary as the example of that. But there are other things that have to be taken care of and in my mind, Martha was just doing what had to be done if that crowd of people were to be fed. I read my poem to a writers' group and it was so well received that I decided to write about other incidents in the Bible that had troubled me. That led me to take another look at some of the Bible's obviously flawed people and question certain aspects of their behavior and God's response to it.
Thus began a serious undertaking to write a collection of poems about Biblical people, half men and half women in order to not be accused of favoritism. I searched the Bible carefully, taking notes on people and events and began my conversations with God. It was a bit scary to speak honestly about what I felt but I doggedly soldiered on. I wrote about thirty characters in all, most from the Old Testament, plus an introductory poem. Many of the poems were long, as much as three type-written pages, and included material that I later cut.
I was working in public schools at the time of writing and decided these poems might be mistakenly considered sacrilegious by some. Not wanting to be the center of any controversy, I put the poems in a drawer in my study and didn't look at them again for fifteen years. Then I read a few of them at an annual state poetry meeting where they became the "talk of the weekend." I was strongly urged to do something with them which led to cutting, revising, and submitting them to a digital publisher. The editor's response was immediate and enthusiastic. She did, however, request that I write a concluding poem that would summarize my overall feeling. In spite of my initial reservations, this proved an easy task and did bring a closure that I hadn't realized was missing. More editing followed and months were spent discussing and choosing pictures to illustrate some of them. Finally, the book was ready for release as an ebook and in print. To my relief not a single person has questioned my motives. The usual response is that I have said what they have thought but hadn't put into words. I am gratified that the readers "get it" and know that I am speaking to God as a human being with humor and humility.
• HUMANLY SPEAKING stands alone as one of the most unique conversations with God I have ever read. A book of poetry, or thought, laid down in skillful poetic measure, it goes where most of us are afraid to—voicing concerns for the brothers and sisters in the scriptures and the painful and sometimes unfair consequences and events in their lives….
Linda Swift has penned a thought-provoking collection of scriptural accounts and questions that made me stop and ponder. I learned a little, laughed a little (Oh, Ruth, weren't you clever?) and even ached with sympathy. HUMANLY SPEAKING is a great addition to any supplemental reading or study that focuses on our religious and spiritual past….
— Danielle Thorne-Author/Reviewer
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