How are Christians supposed to live their lives in the chaos of contemporary society, especially when certain religious leaders and followers are involved in “deceit, cruelty…violence and…terror”? The answer, of course, is to follow Jesus’ example. In Study with the Teacher, Ruth C. Bullock looks to guide those who feel frustrated with their faith or have gone astray back to what matters most: a deeply personal relationship with Christ.
In a series of essays, structured as a loose dialogue between the author, Jesus, and the writers of the New Testament, Bullock’s book intermingles sacred scripture, Bible summaries, and personal stories to explore such topics as forgiveness, faith, prayer, obedience, love, and the need to cultivate awareness. Excerpting scriptural passages that illuminate the necessary levels of faith and devotion required of Christians, Bullock looks to encourage people “to do good for others, the poor, the hungry, widows and orphans, the hurt and imprisoned.” While she never uses the phrase “social justice,” the spirit of mercy for those in need permeates her book as she reminds believers to “reveal, manifest, and glorify God” in their words, behavior and everyday life.
The book is mostly a sort of greatest hits packaging of the Bible. Study with the Teacher shines best when Bullock tells stories of her own struggle with faith and how she overcame difficult times. Most notable are the poignant memories she shares about her dying mother and helping a young student who was on the verge of suicide.
The narrative suffers from grammatical issues, including missing commas, awkward phrasing, and occasional repetition. Still, Bullock’s book is a thoughtful effort. Although the text is in need of some editing, readers looking for a burst of inspiration will feel warmed by the author’s desire to help bring God back into the lives of others.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.