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Room Full of Marvels

An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

Room Full of Marvels
Author: James Bryan Smith
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers
Length: 160 pp.

James Bryan Smith is perhaps best known for his “devotional biography” of Rich Mullins, An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, and his Spiritual Formation books with Richard Foster.  Smith was a friend of Mullins’, to the point where the singer lived in his attic for two years.

Room Full of Marvels is thinly veiled fiction.  The protagonist, Tim Hudson, loses three people very close to him in a two year time period: a friend who happens to be a Christian singer, his mother, and his two year old daughter. Tim faces a crisis of faith based on these and other events in his life.  To combat these feelings, and to deal with his grief that is his constant companion, he travels to a monastery for a time of quiet and introspection.

While there, he experiences a vision.  He is visited by people from his past, and is allowed to view parts of Heaven.  These scenes are similar to those in A Christmas Carol, The Wizard of Oz, and The Great Divorce.  The last should come as no surprise as one of Hudson’s visitors is the late C.S.Lewis.

Without giving too much away, suffice it to say his visitors have a great impact upon his spiritual state.  He is given insights into how God works, and how seemingly inconsequential events in our lives can have long lasting effects on the people we touch.

Smith is a compelling writer who imbues his words with vivid descriptions. His depiction of grief is real, without becoming maudlin.  This book is ideal for those who are grieving, for fans of Rich Mullins and C.S. Lewis, and simply for those who like a good story with Christian ideas.  While I’m not sure I believe in the concept of a “room full of marvels” for each of us, I sure like the idea after reading Smith’s description of them.

Brian A. Smith  28 January 2004


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