Karen Spears Zacharias is a born storyteller, and that is why I want to commend to you her new book Where’s Your Jesus Now?. I became aware of Karen at our local Barnes & Noble when I happened one evening upon her book After the Flag Has Been Folded (called “Hero Mama” at that time). I picked it up, couldn’t put it down, bought it and read most of it that weekend. (We met Karen and her brother Frank at an event in Seattle.) Karen’s been through alot and I’m glad she’s got the journalist gift to record some of that “alot.” (Here’s the other part of the “alot” that you should know.)
Karen’s father died in Viet Nam when she was just a kid; the death of her father led to some family wrecks. She tells about this in After the Flag Has Been Folded and I don’t need to rehearse that story here.
Through it all Karen became a Christian and I recognized that it in her truth-telling book and so I wrote her; she wrote back. And so I was thrilled when Zondervan chose to offer her a contract to publish her stuff. Hence Where’s Your Jesus Now? The title comes off with an edge, but it is a line clipped from the first chp … and some story it is.
I wonder if you ever had a confrontation like this one?
It’s a story of violence that she covered in Oregon. A young man, Eric, who had wanted to become a preacher eventually became obsessed with his own power and authority and made life unbearable for those who crossed his path. His girlfriend, Robin, got in on his act. She ended up pointing a gun at a woman, a Christian woman, and said, “Where’s your Jesus now?” Shirley said “He’s right here.” It all ends up in a police chase and the police shooting Eric dead. “Eric,” Karen tells us, “went in search of a God of retribution, and he missed the God of redemption altogether.”
The chp ends with this: “Where should we go to put an end to all the wrongs and try to heal all that has happened?” She answers: “To none other than the Jesus who wept at the gravesite.”
The theme of fear — from several angles — shapes this book. It’s not an exposition of fear; it’s stories about fear.