In describing his book, octogenarian and retired housepainter J. Howard Sloan states, “Most authors write from a position of high intellectual and scholastic achievement. This one is different. It is a view from the bottom. It is an honest attempt to summarize the thousands of sermons and countless other practical learning experiences of an ordinary layman and relate them to the daily lives of real people.” In doing just this, Sloan has crafted a book for the every-Christian, one whose message recognizes hope as the foundation and beauty of our very lives.
There is much to like in The Carpenter and the Painter. Sloan’s avuncular style and genuine voice make for easy reading, and his observations are attention-grabbing. For instance, in breaking down the chapters of the Bible, he writes, “its 31,173 verses may be likened to a great celestial observatory with 31,173 observation windows from which we may study the principles of life from God’s perspective.” Moreover, there’s a spiritual longing at the heart of the book that is tender and inspiring: “Listen! Can you hear someone knocking at your heart’s door? Something wonderful may be about to happen to you. Don’t be afraid. Open the door.”
Sloan’s book is far from perfect, though. There are factual errors (the U.S. entered WWII in 1941, not 1949); instances of confusing syntax (“…he saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands”); and missed opportunities (“As surely as an unseen hand forms the intricate designs on a car top…every idiosyncrasy of the human personality will be retained in the soul. This assures us that we will know our loved ones in heaven.” Beautiful imagery but what does it mean?).
These problems make it hard to recommend The Carpenter and the Painter to libraries, but Bible group readers willing to look past these flaws will find ample wisdom in its pages.