Life Worth Living

This is my second Cover Story .. this time for Jake’s latest book which bears the same name as his blog: Looking for God in Messy Places. I’ve previously featured Jake’s writing on my blog but for those unfamiliar with his work, Jake Owensby is Bishop of Western Louisiana (USA/Episcopal).

I remember when Jake first shared the book photo and I felt the 6-week wait for the book release was far too long! No doubt the wonderful cover helped stoke my enthusiasm – as a good cover does.

I love how the cover title is nestled within the colourful hands and I also recall the cover giving me a feeling of reassurance .. that the reader is in safe hands!

Looking for God in Messy Places

~ A Book about Hope

Author: Jake Owensby.

Cover Story

It turns out that the publisher took responsibility for sourcing the image for the cover, in accordance with Jake’s direction; Jake told me he thinks they did a marvellous job, and I do too!

Jake’s take on the cover:

  • The hands are a traditional symbol of divine blessing.
  • The hands are messy, indicating God’s immersion in our lives.
  • The vivid colors evoke the goodness, joy, and beauty that God’s love makes of our mess.

Soon after reading the book via my Kindle app, I wrote the following review intending to put it on Amazon but as things currently stand I’m not “eligible” to post a review. At least I can share it here on my blog!

Review: Looking for God in Messy Places

~written by Liz Cowburn

“Your life is worth living.”

Bishop Jake Owensby writes, “God dwells with us in beautiful and messy places alike” and, “our assurance that this life is worth living comes from noticing that God keeps showing up in the midst of it”. He speaks of “the relentless power of God’s love” and that “Misery, terror, want, and oppression mar the planet. Yet, still we can find hope because God shows up even in the ICU and the concentration camp.” Jake reminds us that God is love and we are the beloved, that “God was born for us” .. “Emmanuel, ‘God with us,’ the long-awaited Messiah.” Prior to entering ordained ministry Jake served as a philosophy professor but the writing style here is warm and conversational rather than academic, and he’s generous with stories. If you’re feeling discouraged or you’re confused about the meaning of faith and hope in the face of adversity, there’s much comfort and wisdom to be found here. Some aspects may challenge the way you think (as with me) but like Jake says in the book – “Hope is not a head thing. It is a heart thing.” I found this a riveting read, refreshingly honest, and it strengthened my confidence in retaining hope even in circumstances where there’s no obvious reason to remain hopeful. This is a book I’m really glad to have read, I highly recommend it.


Excerpts from Looking for God in Messy Places
~posted at Jake’s blog:

Excerpt 1 : Finding Hope

Excerpt 2 : It’s a Heart Thing

For more information about the book and about Jake, see the publisher’s web page ~at Abingdon Press: Looking for God in Messy Places. The page also features excellent videos with Jake discussing the various sections of his book.

FYI : my first cover story was … A Cover Like No Other about Upturned by Kay McKenzie Cooke.

Text/review by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

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