I hate to admit because, according to some of the roles I play in life, I’m supposed to be a diligent and conscientious bible professor. Yes, my discipline is primarily focused on the New Testament, but still…there should be no “misplacing” the incredible story of a character of scripture that carries with him such sweeping and full text significance such as Elijah. Without getting too “windy,” which I’m apt to do, Elijah’s story is filled with mystery, wonderful, power, raw humanity, glorious divinity and applicable principles that transcend time. As I started to read Heather’s delightful book, I forgot how much I missed that old, dusty prophet. Even so, it didn’t take long, as Heather explores the bulk of Elijah’s journey through each chapter of her writing, for me to get reacquainted with my long-time spiritual friend and mentor. What was surprising was how much of his journey Heather mines for meaning, challenge and insight that directly affects not just our individual lives but brings with it a surprisingly pointed (and accurate, at least in my humble opinion) critique of contemporary culture.
Reading Elijah and the SAT was a memorable excursion. I was blessed by the author to be able to receive a Kindle copy, which made it convenient to read the book in multiple locations (due to various Kindle apps on my computer and iPhone). And that I did, stealing peaks at the parking lot at Burger King, rereading sections while waiting in my truck for that darn train to fully pass through our town so I can get back to the office or home, and delving into chapters in my favorite spot to immerse myself in literature, my comfy bed lined with a nice, warm quilt, three throw pillows, my two fluffy Maltese pups and my lovely bride.
I loved Heather’s playful language and writing style. I laughed as I thought to myself, “who knew about Fanny Farmer and what she could have to say to 21st century living!” Heather’s take on one of my favorite book series of all time, Harry Potter (yes, Heather, Lon and I would be good friends), and her utilization of the “Sorting Hat” image in relationship to contemporary education, maturing children and the birth of college prep exams had me at one moment feeling surprised only then to feel righteous indignation for how far our culture has gone in breed debilitating entitlement into the hearts and minds of generations. I could go from chapter to chapter with remarks about how I connected with her illustrations and stories because they were plentiful but I’ll spare you. Oh, one more…I really understand, and all parents will, how one helplessly (at times) witnesses the navigation of our children through contemporary living’s demands…calculated assessment at the expense of true self…ungodly pressure at the cost of personal creativity and exploration. Ok, you’ll have to expose yourself to more on your own. I’ll stop there!
Heather shares much of her life and her family’s validation of CS Lewis’ “law of undulation” in such a way that the focus never becomes self-serving. Make no mistake about it, Elijah and the SAT is more bible study that personal expose and more cultural analysis than familial voyeurism. I’ve read other books of this genre and sense, at times, that the book is more of a forum for personal catharsis than a true exposition of subject matter that is transcendent of specificities in time and place. Heather’s book is the latter…her personal stories illustrate larger truths and act as a springboard to deeper and more relevant cultural reflection.
I started out this blog post attempting to resist my usual style of verbosity. Yet, as you can see, it’s easy to get a bit wordy when you are enthusiastic about something and want to be able to point at the object or experience and say to all who would hear, “THAT was fun, good and meaningful.” So, I’ll leave this post now with the personal encouragement for you to personally feast on Heather’s book. She probably would be the a bit embarrassed that I’m making such a big deal about something that she just simply had to get off of her “soul” but I can’t help it…when I see something and read a book that can be life affirming, spiritually engaging and exposes cultural struggles at their most raw form, I have to say something about it! If you read this Heather, you’ll just have to deal!
Here’s the direct link to the book – for those of my friends, readers, twitter and FB followers and community, family, and students, you will be as delighted as I was to meet Elijah again and see what the heck he has to do with our lives and standardized testing. Who knew?
Oh, by the way, here are some "snippets" from the book that Heather placed on her blog! Maybe they will help with that motivation issue that you struggle with, OK?