am 3. Juli 2000
The book JOSHUA changed my life. That's a simple but powerful statement and that is exactly what this book is: a simple but powerful book.
It seems to be divinely inspired and written with devotion and love. It was obviously Fr. Girzone's first attempt at writing for it often read like the way a child speaks but I found that to be charming instead of annoying. The book was pure in its voice and pure in its motive to communicate how organized religions can often move away from the true message and character of Christ.
Joshua, like Jesus, is a man with human flaws but who has attained a level of love for God that most of us aspire too but fall far short of achieving. Joshua doesn't go around rigidly preaching the word of God so much as he lives his life according to the word of God--his life is a sermon and example to us all, like Jesus'life was.
Fr. Girzone seems to be trying to show us how Joshua (Jesus) was a simple man who led a compassionate life devoted to a loving God. His life and message were not bogged down with rules and an inhuman ideal of perfection. Joshua could worship in any temple, any church, on any hilltop because God can be found anywhere and, at the same time, his love for God allowed him to worship with Christians, Jews or simply all by himself.
God is too great for any one religion to corner the market on understanding Him and our quest to please Him. We still can't explain the size or the birth of our universe so how can we be expected to be all knowing about God? Joshua attempts to bring that thought to light. Learning and loving God is a journey that spans many lifetimes but Joshua shows us that compassion and love will put us on the right path.
The book MY ISHMAEL rattled my universe and left me feeling like an earthquake had just pulled the ground out from under my feet. My faith was enhanced, but it took me days to calm down from the experience. JOSHUA, on the otherhand, was like being rocked in the arms of heaven with an angel whispering the Secret of Life in my ear.
am 15. Mai 2000
After the publication of Joshua, Father Girzone retired from the priesthood due to reasons of health. I bet the Vatican told him that if he stayed on, he wouldn't be healthy for long. :o) Seriously though, this beautiful novel is a must-read for everyone, regardless of religion. Joshua is a woodworker who sets up shop in a modern suburban town. His amazing craftsmanship, kindness and down-to-earth spirituality earn him many friends in both the Christian and Jewish communities, while at the same time earning the wrath of religious leaders. As Joshua works his subtle miracles, the modern-day Pharisees of the Catholic Church conspire to silence him. Joshua is censured by the Church and ordered to appear at the Vatican. Unable to afford the cost of a trip to Rome, Joshua is forced to work on a passenger ship, where he performs yet another miracle. When Joshua appears at the Vatican, the Cardinals are ready to excommunicate him. Only then - and after one final miracle - do they realize just who Joshua really is. I'm an ex-Catholic myself, and I have no use for organized religion. That's one of the reasons why I loved this book. Christ sought to free people from relgious tyranny, and what happens? Tyrants even more ruthless than the Pharisees of old exert their spiritual slavery in Jesus' name. In the Bible, a man asks Christ how he should go about worship, and Christ tells him to go to his bedroom, close the door, and pray in private. In 1946, a long lost gospel was discovered, the gospel of St. Thomas. In this gospel, Thomas records verbatim the exact words of Jesus. In one of his sayings, Christ states that the Kingdom of God lies in your heart, not in buildings of stone and wood. He tells a parable whereby he rejects capitalism, stating that "Businessmen and merchants will never enter my Father's house". Of course, The Catholic Church immediately declared this gospel to be heresy. Nuff said. In Joshua, Father Girzone has given us a brand new gospel, one that really shows us the true mission of Jesus. You may find yourself losing faith in religion, but your faith in Jesus and in God will be renewed. Amen!
am 14. April 2000
I had very mixed feelings about this book. I was very moved by the simple message of the love that God has for us. However, I suppose that ultimately that I would rather that Joshua not be Jesus himself. It is obvious that the main purpose of this book is to show that the Church has perverted the word of God in a way leads people away from God, in much the same way that the Pharisees did 2000 years ago. This is a true statement that I agree with 100%. It is our own human nature plus the influence of Demons that has allowed this to happen. However, there are so many things about this book that are just plain wrong that I would not see it much more than a simple lesson on how God wants us to live our lives. For example, one of the statements the book makes is that Jews are no longer under the law while Catholics are under laws that restrict their freedom. This is not true! Many Orthodox Jews keep the Law and also have made Traditions equal to the Law so they must be kept also. This is ultimately bondage and not freedom and yet the Jews are portrayed as being free. What I had the hardest time with was that Joshua never really preached the salvation message to anyone! I wonder if the author truly knows the simple salvation message. This book would not lead an unbeliever to salvation in Jesus. Joshua should have been most concerned about the salvation of everyone. Look what Jesus says in Luke 10:20 after he has sent out the 72: "However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven". I believe that the author was so concerned about making Joshua confront the problems in the church that he forgot (or doesn't know) that Jesus would be most concerned about the eternal destination of everyone he would meet. That is why I wish that Joshua was not really Jesus, because this is not ultimately how Jesus would have acted. It would have been much better if Joshua stayed mysterious but only a man. Jesus was in constant communcation with his Father through the Holy Spirit, but Joshua only seems to speak to his father before bed. I am sorry to sound so harsh, but I believe that the author betrays himself as not really understanding who Jesus really is! He is God the Son who is our Savior and who intercedes on our behalf to God the Father. With his great love for us, he is only concerned about his Father's Kingdom and bringing us into the Kingdom.
am 19. Januar 1999
According to retired priest Girzone, Jesus did a poor job of establishing his Church the first time so he has to come back to straighten things out. The gates of Hell appear to have prevailed, as virtually every clergyman (Catholic or otherwise, and including the Pope) in his story is portrayed as a stuffy, arrogant, iron-fisted powermonger with little or no regard for people's souls. Of the two benign priests, Fr. Pat is an alcoholic, and gives the Catholic Eucharist to Protestant ministers, to the delight of his congregation. The other is overly conservative, but this "shortcoming" is overlooked since he's a nice guy. Joshua/Jesus is a libertarian freethinking moral relativist who elevates the human conscience above all revealed truths and dogmas, which serve only to enslave God's children who should be free to do what they please as long as they try to love God and one another. Joshua tells Fr. Pat to work for married priests, that the Sacrament of Matrimony is optional, and doles out lessons to everyone which subvert teachings and traditions which go back to the first century. Oh, and the pope is just another bishop: all bishops should be the supreme teaching authority for their flock. Girzone has shown by his writings that he was a dissident priest who obviously has a bone to pick with his church (and all organized Christian churches). It's unfortunate that even in retirement he still has a forum to attack the Church, and sow seeds of poisonous doubts and subversive thoughts in the minds of Christians, especially Catholics. As a Catholic reader, I could not enjoy the book due to the feelings of disgust I felt everytime Joshua went into one of his heretical spiels, or another clergyman was introduced (predictably) as a faithless despot who lords it over his cringing flock.
am 31. Dezember 1998
I read Joshua a few months back and than reread it.Each time you read it you get something more out of it. It is like you don't want to let him (Joshua) go out of your life. I grew up Catholic and was led to believe that the teachings of the church were God's beliefs. They were not. They were decided by the clery for their own benfit and interpretation. I felt such inner peace when I was reading it and even afterwards. I hated the book to end because Joshua became someone that I would care to read about on and on. Through Joseph Girzone - Joshua taught us so much in very simple terms and not at all preachy. I felt at peace after I finished it but sad that it was over. I felt like a trusted friend had just left. I walked out onto my deck and looked at my wandering jew plant and called him Joshua- because Joshua like plants, animal, bird sounds and just the very simple things in life. I miss him and want him back. Even though I have now read 5 of his books. I really have to wonder at negative comments from people.They just don't get it do they. I too feel it should be required reading for everyone schoolchild and grownup as well. My mother who is 82 and could be called a stringent Catholic of the old school even loved it.I allows you to anaylize yourself without passing judgment. Never had I read a book that left such an impact. I have given it as a Christmas present to three different people this year and net year even more. If I could do anything right now my wish would be to sit down and talk to Joseph Girzone. When you read a few more of his books you begin to wonder if Joseph Girzone is indeed Joshua and is here to deliver the message that are in each of his books.
am 2. Juni 2000
My mother-in-law is the one responsible for getting me to read this book. We were having a discussion nearly a month ago about faith-inspiring books. She handed me a copy of Joshua and insisted that I read it. I did and, although I would not say that it ranks with my favorite books, I did find it a rather enjoyable and moving story.
Joshua is very simply written; the fact that Girzone was a novice author at the time he wrote it definitely shows in the writing style. However, the simplicity of the writing lends itself to a very easy read.
In addition to the writing style being very simplistic, so too is its message. Girzone is very direct and repetitive (almost to the point of being annoying) with the message he is trying to convey. In doing so, he avoids the possibility of misinterpretation but, at the same time, prevents the message from having much depth; very little is left to the imagination.
I found the book enjoyable and worth the time I spent reading it, but I didn't find it as profoundly inspiring as my mother-in-law had (for me, Clowns of God by Morris West had a much deeper impact). However, Joshua does have a good message, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get in touch with their spiritual side.
am 5. April 1999
The message of the book, I suppose, is that Jesus was a soulful human being who was (and still would be, if he were around) opposed to the petty infighting so prevalent in established religion (particularly Christianity and it's subset Catholicism)... good message, painfully dull story, naive delivery and full of simpleminded presumptions. This is a quick and simplistic fix for people who yearn to find comfort in a Christian belief system, but find their religion (or particular church) dogmatic, or simply full of small-minded and small-souled leaders. This, however, is a subject that has been written about for centuries by much more enlightened thinkers... in an actual literary fashion--something missing entirely from "Joshua." Jesus is simply too interesting a character to be treated in such a dull fashion. Given the other reviews, though, it seems this is just what most people want. If that's what you want, buy the book. If not, check out C.S. Lewis, Robert Heinlien, Herman Hesse, Dostoevsky or get the reading list from your local University's "Philosophy of Religion" reading list. Of course, then you might sully your mind with the fruit from the "tree of knowledge." Dangerous.
am 3. April 1998
I built up alot of great expectations after reading all the glowing reviews for this book in Amazon, etc. But when my wife and I started to read it together, we just kept hoping it would improve. It didn't. The message is worthy, and fairly simple, but I truly feel the author has a terrible way of conveying it. First, I'm disappointed that the publishers didn't proofread it better. There are many more grammatical and useage errors than should occur in a big-name book. Second, though Fr. Girzone clearly is committed to the philosophical line he preaches, he doesn't have much of a handle on either the way real people act and talk, or on contemporary issues - the kinds of things which would confront a modern-day incarnation of Jesus. His prose jumps from cursory descriptions of people and events - into unneccessarily long and detailed stuff about things of little value to the "parable". And I hate to admit it, but after about the fifth repetition of Joshua's main message, delivered each time in a sincere but preachy style, I got tired of it. Yes, I agree with the message, but this book is sloooooow going, and will probably be frustrating to anyone who had a good English and Creative Writing teacher in school.
am 8. November 1998
I am a student of all religions and my views are based on what I have learned. I found this story to have two very large weaknesses. The first was the occasion of the barbacue. This book does not show Joshua to be truly respectful to other lifeforms. Most of the truly spiritual people that I am aware of will not take a life in order to eat. Others will take a life, but will eat the meat with great respect and honor. I feel that the author does not show due respect to other life on earth.
The second issue that I was VERY upset as is Joshua's portrayal of illness as a punishment of God. To me, this is a terrible way to think, perhaps even evil. I cannot comprehend how others would overlook this weakness. Am I off base here??
I also felt that Joshua was trying to separate the community rather than to try bring unity to the community. When a religous leader seperates the community into those that follow me are good and those that don't are bad, my first thought is that of a cult. Joshua did seem to play off weak people in a manner conducive to a cult leader.
All in all, I thought the book was interesting, though shallow and lacking of true depth and insight
am 7. November 1997
Joseph Girzone asks a simple question: what would you do if Jesus is sitting beside you? Are you prepared to recognise Him? You'd think that "fast-paced" and "un-put-downable" are adjectives used to describe thrillers, mysteries and spy stories. Once in a while, a spiritual book like Joshua falls under this category. The book grabs the heart and does not let go. You are forced to choose which category of believer you're in...and that includes the non-believers as well. What I like about this book is it is not a "preaching" book. It does not wreak havoc on a conscience by unsettling the mind with messiah-nic declarations. Many writers require the juxtaposition between sex and violence and herioc acts. But Joshua is a very simple story of kindness, compassion, empathy and love...those which one would like to find everyday...in anyone. Girzone has showed what simple courtesy, good manners and a balanced moral mind can do to even the most hardened hearts. And the reality is some hearts that claim to be open turn out to be the most hardened ones. Girzone twists the story...it's a wake-up call to Christians.