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Spiritual Passage in Arabia


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A deep look into theology and life in a different culture that brings a man to the pit and out again.

Jim Carroll takes us on a memorable ride that mixes cultures and religions, and peppers in some questions of faith in his fiction novel, “Spiritual Passage in Arabia.”

There’s adventure, a little bit of romance, and a lot of conflict. It’s one of those books where you read while sitting up straight – on the edge of your seat, literally. The pages begin with the introduction of Pliny Oslander – the English missionary who is living in the Arabian Pennisula with his wife – who is Bedouin. Pliny finds himself wondering why God hasn’t helped the people there and made it where the Christians aren’t persecuted. The Muslim culture is dominant. Though life for everyone there is hard, Pliny discovers it’s even harder for him. And he is a missionary. The Oslanders have to leave because of cultural differences. Even though Pliny had adopted the ways of the people and their traditions, he still found himself struggling.

In the book, the author explores Pliny’s exploration – literal and spiritual – while in Arabia. Jim Carroll makes the story one that each and every one of us can understand. Irony wasn’t lost on me, as I realized that the timeline of the story centered on 40 years of Pliny’s life. The first few pages are in Pliny’s words – telling the story of his family, his eccentric father, and equally-quirky mother – both considered misfits, and both in the career of working for the Lord. Readers can get a good grasp on Pliny, his character, his mindset and how his background plays on his future as an adult and with his wife in the foreign country. You realize right away that Pliny's family’s future will be questionable, especially when even the directors of the church restrict what they can do. The response of those in the country made it even clearer.

“... and Aziz conveyed this directly. ‘ You and your family cannot spread the word of Jesus.’ My father had already accepted this as a condition for Mubarak’s acceptance of our family. No problem there … If our only purpose was as ‘placeholder’ for the physicians, how, why would we even persist?” (Pliny speaks)

I recommend this for adults and possibly, for a theological book club.

Reviewed by

Becky has been in love with words since she first got a copy of "Harry the Dirty Dog," as a tiny tot.

A former award-winning newspaper editor with a bachelor's degree in English/journalism and a master's in psychology, her goal is to help you get your book out there.

Pliny Speaks

About the author

I retired last year from academic medicine. I worked for some time in the Middle East. My writing focuses on cultural life there. In 1990 I was trapped by the Iraqi army in Kuwait. My wife and I later wrote a memoir: Faith in Crisis. My novels also include a trilogy dealing with changes in Kuwait. view profile

Published on July 16, 2020

50000 words

Genre: Christian Fiction

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