Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Devotional Book Review - You Can Hear The Angels Laughing: Finding God In The Details by Dr. Madison Van Scott

This week I am sharing a number of devotional books that I have found and would be great for kicking off the new year with!

Today's book is "You Can Hear The Angels Laughing: Finding God In The Details" by Dr. Madison Van Scott.

“Never doubt that the fight for justice is a responsibility we all share.”

 As a nation going through tumultuous social and political times, this statement could have been lifted from today’s headlines ­– but it was actually penned more than 50 years ago by Dr. Madison Van Scott, a charismatic orator and minister who once captivated crowds across the country with his eloquent messages and deep baritone delivery.

Though Scott passed away in 2003, his intuitive wisdom and observations of human nature live on, transcending and even defying the passage of time, in the new book, “You Can Hear the Angels Laughing: Finding God in the Details” (December 2012).

In 2009, Scott’s widow, Ruth, was cleaning out the garage when she discovered a dusty, discolored manuscript hidden in a file cabinet. She handed it to her daughter, Dr. Sylvia Scott Gearing, and said, “You might want to read this sometime.”

“At the time, I had no idea about the treasure I held in my hands -- a gift my father had left for our family,” said Gearing, a nationally-recognized psychologist and author. “I read through the manuscript and was overwhelmed with its timeless messages. The lessons are for everyone, and the perspective calls our faith into action. I immediately knew it must be published.”

Gearing spent two years organizing and editing the book. Penned by Scott himself, the book provides snapshots of life, or “sacred moments,” as he called them. His engaging writing style draws readers in, providing fresh insight into many of life’s everyday events. Joyous to sad, humorous to poignant, yet always informative, Scott recounts his decades of work and guidance with parishioners and friends and the resulting life lessons that still resonate today.

The collection of stories also provides a glimpse into a unique time in American history from a man who lived it, including Scott’s work during the country’s Civil Rights movement. As the senior pastor of an Austin, Texas, church in the late 1950s and 1960s whose membership included the Texas governor and a U.S. senator, Scott was chosen to chair the committee to integrate Austin during the early 60s. He recalls it was a politically dangerous decision and worried the backlash from his congregation could be fierce, yet recognized that if all Southern Christian ministers did not stand up for racial integration, they would be betraying everything that Christianity stood for.

“These stories are the life lessons of a man who lived in some of the most controversial times in our nation’s history, contributed to major social changes and knew some of the world’s leaders who enacted that social change,” said Gearing. “This is the back-story of how he moved through such trying moments and a reminder of how many heroes it takes to change the world. My father is one of many who had the faith to do the right thing when he could have walked away.”

A theologian classically trained in Europe, Scott never let his scholastic or intellectual abilities interfere with his compassion for the everyday people he served.

“He dealt with everyone in the same way—from the janitor to the president,” said Gearing. “His sermons were renowned for their eloquent delivery–JFK was a big fan. Yet he never, ever lost sight of his own humility, compassion and kindness for others.”

Scott’s faith defined him. He was a man who loved deeply, having the same fears as others, yet always found ways to fight his way through the sadness of life–like losing his oldest daughter, Rebecca, in a tragic car accident–to rediscover God again and again.

“My father felt deeply and had his own challenges with such complete access to his emotions,” said Gearing. “He was such an accomplished minister because he had that emotional access. If you were going through tragedy, he was the guy to talk to. He would walk right along with you and share his enormous strength and faith when no one else would.”

You Can Hear the Angels Laughing: Finding God in the Details” is available for purchase at www.AngelsLaughing.com, on Amazon.com and through major eBook retailers.

This slender volume of thoughts and prayers was just a delight to read through.  This is the type of book that you could pick up whenever you might need a little encouragement or uplifting.

I particularly enjoyed Dr. Scott's thoughts on being "thieves of beauty,"  on how we should stop and admire the beautiful things in life - to stop and "steal" a moment of beauty that God has shared with us.

What a lovely opportunity for Dr. Scott's daughter, Sylvia, to be able to share her father's wisdom and thoughts with the world through this charming devotional.  I highly recommend it!

I was provided with a review copy of this book by Prokell Publicity. I was not compensated for my opinion.


Pooch said...

That is a marvelous title! It makes you want to pick it up and read!


Sharon Galligar Chance said...

It is truly a delightful book!