About the Book:
Enter the biblically historic world of Simon of Cyrene, where a world of grief, revenge, and tender devotion awaits. There, families are torn apart, marauding soldiers enact their violent ways, and random events suddenly disrupt life. Along this journey there will be encounters with Pontius Pilate, Veronica, Mary, and the sons of Simon, Rufus and Alexander, as they seek to grasp the mystery of a compassionate Nazarene, serenely putting into practice the kingdom of God.
Forced to carry the cross of Jesus, Simon of Cyrene, a little known biblical figure, reluctantly yields to his task. At the same time, Simon struggles with personal loss and a fiery desire for revenge. In Simon’s story, the vulnerability of our own journeys is laid bare as we cross paths with a simple wooden cross and a redemptive twist of fate.
In Simon’s Crossing, this ordinary man, from Cyrene, steps boldly out of the pages of the Bible. He senses that his own life depends on the Nazarene staggering just ahead of him. Persuaded by sacrificial love, we too discover what it is like to cross over into the imaginal power of a story well-told, where salvation lies close at hand. Simon’s story compels us to carry on as well.
About the Authors:
Dr. Charles William Asher, in addition to being an Episcopalian priest, former United Methodist minister, Jungian analyst, Marriage & Family therapist, and California Research Psychoanalyst, has served in higher education for nearly eighteen years, as provost, and core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He has lectured and written on the relationship between theology, particularly process theology, and psychology, particularly Jungian psychology.
Dr. Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. has been teaching for 36 years, the last eight at Pacifica Graduate Institute. While the majority of his teaching is done through courses in the Mythological Studies Program, Dr. Slattery also teaches in the MA Counseling Program and the Depth Psychology Program. He is the author of over 200 articles and book reviews in newspapers, magazines, journals and chapters in books.
This book is extremely well written. The story comes across as visual and visceral. It was a compelling read, but it was not an easy read.
My thoughts are somewhat conflicted. I didn’t like this book, but I couldn’t stop reading it. The story is told as a narrative by Simon of Cyrene and despite the horrors and joys he witnesses, he relates the story with what felt to me like a strong sense of detachment — rather like he was standing beside himself watching his life. Interestingly enough, that did not relieve the emotional impact the story had on me, in fact I think it heightened it and raised my angst.
Simon’s Crossing is one of those books a reader loves to hate. I am not sorry I read the book, but I would not read it again. The emotions I experienced were just too raw and intense and for the most part the mood of the book is dark, bitter, and angry. Maintaining that kind of energy for any length of time is exhausting and I read this book in chunks rather than devouring it from cover to cover.
If you have ever contemplated what it must have been like for Jesus as he walked to Golgotha, you will want to read Simon’s Crossing. However, I do want to post a warning — this book contains an overly graphic sex scene. I am not a prude and the scene focuses on a married couple, but I do not enjoy sex as a spectator sport and would have better appreciated a less graphic depiction of Simon’s love for his wife. Still, it is no more than two pages of the book. The scenes between Simon and Jesus make the book worthwhile reading.
It is interesting to note that as Simon carried the cross for Jesus, Simon’s mood — primarily his hatred and anger for the Roman soldiers, had a noticeable impact on Jesus — as did any joy, understanding, or compassion Simon exhibited. That by-play was, for me, one of the most moving and convicting parts of the story.
I don’t promise you’ll love this book, but I do promise it will move you if you read it. You’ll be left with a much more real and personal sense of Jesus’s walk to Golgotha.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Charles William Asher, D. Min. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”