[For the full interview recording with Pamela Q. Fernandes, see my August 17, 2018 blog.]
Pamela: Would you have any names of books that people could also can read if they want to do an additional commentary or study the book of Job?
Gordon: Let’s see. There’s a book by Habel, H-A-B-E-L in the Old Testament Library series. It’s very scholarly, but it’s also very stimulating, 1985, that’s a one-volume. But there’s another one by Wilson. It’s a little bit more popular, a major commentary by Gerald Wilson, New International Commentary, based on the New International Version of the Bible. That would be good. It was Habel’s book that I read that later just turned me on to the book of Job and reawakened my love for it. There’s also a three-volume series of books by David Clines, which is, as you can imagine very technical, as Habel’s is as well. And then the other book that affected me and stimulated me by Jack Kahn, K-A-H-N. He wrote, “Job’s Illness: Loss, Grief, and Integration. A Psychological Interpretation.” That’s the book that gave me the idea of a progression or a transformation, or the change in Job. Usually if you look at the book it’s all talking, without seeing Job’s movement through it all. I’ll give you one good example, at the beginning of Job talking with his friends, he talks about, “He,” meaning God: He, He, He. Kahn explains around, I think it’s in Chapter 9, that Job changes the person dramatically from He to You. Now, some people have interpreted this as prayers. Well, they’re not really prayers in the technical sense; they are addressed to God, but the same anger is there. And they’re not worship…anyway, that gives you an idea that Job is not static. That the process of talking with friends brings about changes within him, and leads him through these kind of negative stages which I mentioned. So those are the major books that helped me.
Pamela: Tell us a little bit about your own book. Because I read the book and there’s so much personal stuff in it. You know, your own personal experiences, your own personal tragedies. So tell us a little bit about your book. Where people can find you if they want to contact you, what do they do?
Gordon: I had a personal motive as well, in all of this writing. And that is my son and daughter-in-law have been treating for chronic fatigue illness for over 30 years. And it’s been very tragic. They’re both highly talented people. Musically, they were both graduates of the Wheaton Conservatory of Music at college, and yet have been, as far as life is concerned, on the shelf. So I began the book with my first experience of being confronted with our daughter-in-law’s illness, which changed our son’s life and changed our lives as well. So there’s a personal motive for wanting to get their names and their story into people’s minds, so that they not be forgotten. And that their lives mean something. Juli’s father has also written a book about them. And so we’ve been able to devote our time to helping people be aware of their lives and be a witness for Christ during this time.
Yes, it’s available on, amazon.com in both paper and in eBook. Or, I have a website tragedytransformed.com which offers my book for sale. I also have a blog that I write for regularly, www.gordongrose.com, that’s my name G-O-R-D-O-N- G-R-O-S-E.com. And I deal with subjects related to the book of Job, and related to hope, addiction, recovery, hope in death and dying, and hope in mental illness. I’m on Google Plus, Gordon Grose. I’m on Facebook.
Pamela: Any last words that you have for people who are dealing with tragedies?
Gordon: Sure. When I wanted to write the book, I wrote it in a way which lays out the story of Job according to how we experience life, and I made it in a way that people can grasp because we go through these experiences and stages. It’s not exactly the way the book of Job itself is laid out. So it should appeal to people. The chapters begin with the story of somebody I interviewed, a number of people with different experiences. I have a story about a lady in Chapter 8 who lost her husband suddenly through an automobile accident, for example, who fell asleep at the wheel.
I have a story in Chapter 6 of a former mental health client, who was very, very disturbed and who gave me permission to write his story in my book. And when I preached my launch sermon at my home church, I called and invited him, and he was there. So that was very exciting. But that deals with mental illness. I have a story of a man who went through depression after he lost his wife in divorce and he lost his job the same year. He wanted to die. He tried to, he planned it, he rehearsed it, and I write what happened to him. I have a story of a natural disaster, and I have my own son and daughter-in law’s story as well, the beginning of it. Each chapter begins with a story of someone I interviewed, and then ends with self-help suggestion how we can work through these painful experiences, and in the middle, of course, I deal with Job and his similar life experience.
I hope my book will be a handbook of healing to help sufferers navigate that suffering and hope it would even accelerate their healing, their recovery and their coming out the other side of the grief. So I’m hopeful that the book will have a healing effect on people, and bring them hope and encouragement, bring them closer to a personal experience with God, if they don’t already have one. And if they do, it will draw them even closer.
Pamela: So thank you so much Gordon for spending time and talking about this.
Gordon: I welcome the response from people as they hear me, and as they perhaps are motivated to read the book for themselves.