Review: The Cruciform Way, Vol. 1

Author: Rev. Christopher Thoma

Publisher: Angels’ Portion Books

I’ve been wanting to read The Cruciform Way for quite some time now, but I still had other books by the author to finish, so I hadn’t gotten around to getting a copy. But I was blessed to have the author send me one, and I have to say, it about made my week. This book was a breath of fresh air, a bit of chastisement, and some encouragement as I walked through what I hope is an end to a rather tough period in my life.

Rev. Thoma’s book is a collection of brief messages written for each major event or week of the church year. I am not sure I can quite call them devotionals, though. They are letters of encouragement and instruction, written for a specific group of people – his church – yet still applicable to the life of any Christian. Each one begins with a verse or two of scripture, and some end with little prayers. But they are almost as though the author wrote a letter to you on some specific subject that also correlates with the church season you are in.

Honestly, I didn’t read this book as it was intended, I think. I’m pretty bad at that. I’ve never been one to use devotionals, and if I leave something to be read slowly throughout the year, I’ll forget to do it and then have to rush to finish it by the end. I hate doing that. So I read this book as I normally read books. But I think it was good for me to do that, too. A few of the “letters” (I’m just going with that descriptor) hit me particularly hard during this season in my life right now. Some brought me to tears, like the ones concerning Pastor Heckert. I never met him to my knowledge, but I knew of him, and his faith was admirable. But many more brought conviction and another kind of tears. Most of these had to do with forgiveness. There were others, too, that aided in my spiritual education and some that made me laugh. In contrast with his Angels’ Portion books, Rev. Thoma’s pastoral voice came out more, and I appreciated that.

This book is ideal if you are looking for a regular read, one with a piece of insight, encouragement, or instruction every week, something that flows with the cadence of the Church year, as Rev. Thoma puts it. But if you also tend to eat up books when you get into them, do that and go back to the parts you loved that you found refreshing or instructive. I think depending on where you are in life (and even in the church year), certain sections of the book will hit closer to home than others. But all of them will help you walk through the church year and the cadence of life that comes with being a Christian.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Madelyn Rose Craig

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