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Joseph F. Girzone
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Joshua (Joshua)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,680 Ratings  ·  394 Reviews
Joshua, "A parable for today" is the story of a quiet man, whose benevolence and selfless work in the community prompts amazement as well as suspicions.
Published (first published 1983)
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Ben Zajdel
What if Jesus came back today? Would we recognize him? Joshua tries to answer that question. A simple carpenter moves to the outskirts of a small town named Auburn, mystifying the locals with his beautiful wood carvings and astute insights into religion. Joshua lives a happy life, making toys for children and fixing furniture for the elderly. People are drawn to him. He is friendly, never too busy to stop and have a conversation. The things he discusses speaks to their hearts. It doesn't take lo ...more
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
What would you do if Jesus was living up the street from you? A simple man, doing God's will, who is as radical today as he was with the Apostle's? Welcome to the journey of a lifetime, where you are likely to question your understanding of God and Jesus Christ. I first encountered this book in high school, and just re-read it to be in solidarity with my freshmen who have this for summer reading. Some of the lessons I gained were the same, but many were different. I highly recommend that you tak ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book ! I've read it a couple of times because it just made feel good.this one well always be on my book shelf to be read again.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book suffers from the same syndrome that I believe ails most Christian fiction: a fantastic concept with weak execution. I would say the biggest problem I had was with the dialogue. Every page turns into a sermon, and subtlety is nowhere to be found. Moreover, the characters' words are all so stiff and formal that interactions cannot seem natural for the reader. There are a lot of positive aspects of the book, though. As stated, I think the concept is outstanding. How would we interact with ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and heartwarming...but a bit dull, and edgier than one would expect for a novel like this.
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have just finished this book for the third time and still love this story as I did from the very first perusal. Father Girzone retells the story of Christ through Joshua, a young man who moves into a small town in New York State. Joshua lives a simple life, making friends easily and winning the hearts of the neighborhood children.

Everyone loves Joshua but people are mystified by him, wanting to learn more but reluctant to pry. Joshua, fortunately, makes himself easily accessible and becomes v
Nicolas Shump
This is a compelling read, but is not the best written book. Girzone tells a pretty good story, but parts of this read like stuff coming out of an intro fiction writing class. The conversations are stilted and artificial.
Nevertheless, the conceit of Jesus coming back to Earth under the radar is refreshing. There is a sort of Will Rogers wit to Girzone's observations about religious practice, all the more interesting coming from a retired Catholic priest.
His riff on marriage is passionate, but in
Aug 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Ugh...This book was a chore to read. Lifeless characters, wooden dialogue, a plot equal parts implausible and telegraphed. There is a refreshingly progressive message, but not at all artfully delivered.
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have some mixed feelings about this book. Portraying Jesus in a modern setting is risky business. Sometimes I think there's a little too much of Fr. Girzone in Joshua, but I'm sure that there is also plenty of Jesus in Fr. Girzone. He has a good and thought-provoking message, one that is simply and clearly stated (if often too repetitive) so that many people will be able to understand it and think seriously about it. As an elaborate parable, the story conveys some important messages.

The modern
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an entirely pleasant and peaceful story about Jesus returning to the world, but quietly. Joshua, a simple carpenter, shows up in an upstate New York town and begins to change those around him through his quiet acts of generosity and kindness. He reaches out to all of the various congregations in the town--the Jews, the African-American Pentecostals, the Catholics, the Episcopalians,the Methodists--and teaches them that religion is not important, kindness is. There are some fairly insight ...more
K.J. Kron
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblical
Man, I read these books around 1990. Now they seem so dated. At the time I thought they were great - so much so that I read three or four of them. Kind of clever, kind of interesting. How would Jesus be today? At the heart of it, I like the basic message of Joshua - Jesus would be seen as an outcast. But now as I look back at it, Joshua doesn't go nearly far enough - nor could it. The way I view Jesus now as compared to how I did in 1990 is worlds apart. But I'm getting away from the review of t ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't taken time to read Girzone's other Joshua books, but this was an amazing story because the author challenged me to think literally about what the Christ would be like if he walked among un now in the flesh. WWJW bracelets can't come close to the thinking level available through this novel.
May 24, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book is not literature- I should make that clear off the bat. Because of the total simplicity in how it was written, I found it really tiring to read. I would say the writing made me think of young adult fiction - not complex at all. But to be fair, the book is really not meant to be a study in beautiful phrasing and metaphor. It is a modern day parable bringing Jesus back to mingle amongst everyday people in the little town of Salem. I still found it a little hard to buy. People were these ...more
Aug 05, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had so much potential and failed in most of it. Essentially, Jesus (aka Joshua)arrives in a small American town (Salem - PA, I think, but is from Bethlehem, he tells people), he is a wood carver, he has sheep in his backyard, he makes friends with a woman named Mary....the author wanted Jesus to appear in modern culture but lacked the imagination to make him "fit". It fell flat to have such obvious symbolism throughout the whole story - Joshua meets people in town who respond to him, w ...more
Jacqui Karre-magro
I thought as a Catholic that this book is highly heretical. It goes against a lot of the dogma of the Catholic church as well as preaches more with a protestant tone than a Catholic one. The author should not even use the word priest to describe himself any longer. In all honesty I only finished it so I would be able to discuss the book with the Catholic man who loaned it to me. It is a book, which if you read and did not know your own Catholic faith, you would be in trouble. Some of Joshuas cri ...more
Vincent Chough
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These kind of book reviews split me in two. Theres the believer point-of-view and then theres literary criticism. Can I separate the two here? If you love the subject matter, in this case it is Jesus, can you really be objective in a review?

I guess I just have to go with how this book moved me. I read it twice which says a lot. Each time I got something out of it. I didnt agree with all of it, but I did agree with most of it.

Girzones style is kind of simplistic - or is it? The conversations amon
Aug 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
The story of a man (Joshua) who comes to a contemporary small town in America, lives the simple life of an artist, & has a tremendous impact on the community. He is constantly critical of the Christian clergy for exerting too much authority over their flocks (which seems to me an odd judgment on contemporary mainstream Christianity) and comes into conflict with them. Meanwhile, the people in the Jewish synagogue receive him enthusiastically. Much of what happens has direct biblical parallels ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry if you recommended this book to me, but I couldn't finish it. The point of the book is that Joshua, the modest carpenter, moves into this town. His life is supposed to parallel Christ's life, and the way the town treats him is representation of the way we may treat him. Fine idea, but the author assumed the person reading couldn't draw their own parallels, and when Joshua carries a five foot beam of wood down Main Street to his shop, I just was done reading. Are you serious?! I don't k ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joshua is by far the best novel I've read so far in 2016! A co-worker recommended it to me after I told him about another Christian novel that I had recently read. If you're someone that constantly seeks to know God better and has committed your life to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ then Joshua will make you think long and hard about how you pursue God, exude His love in the world, as well as the current state of the church. Simply put, I am in awe of this book and am so glad that I read ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
"Trite, preachy, condescending, chauvinistic, theologically flawed, overly simplistic, and a chore to read." These are but a few of the highly accurate descriptors used by fellow reviewers. If I hadn't read this book --and the bad reviews-- I might never have thought to create a bookshelf called "I-Wish-I-Hadn't-Read-That".

I have suffered through two-thirds of this book and now I'm calling it quits.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it's just dated, maybe it's just me, but I found this book, although it does convey a message that needs to be heard, somewhat stilted, contrived, and overly simplistic. The author lacks imagination, painting his personal point of view too obviously, and the writing screams young adult, even for a high school reading list. Although I like and agree with the message, I didn't need it pounded into my brain over and over. A fast read, but pretty boring.
Lindsey De Pew
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This was a graduation present from my church, given out each hear to high school graduates. It is a moving book about what Christ might be like if he were to show up today. It reminds us of the most important part of our religion that we usually forget: love. Joshua also reminds us of the downfalls of institutionalized religion and what both christianity and religion in general should be. A good read for a person exploring their faith.
Mike Da Silva
Everyone has at least one friend who finds the Bible too difficult to understand, too much to finish, the excuses go on and on. This is the book for them. It's about Jesus coming back today, and how the world perceives this simple carpenter. It really shows how the story of Jesus can easily translate to today's age.
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is inspiring. This is a story about a carpenter who transforms ordinary lives with words of peace and loving actions. Joshua portrayed how Jesus came into our midst in today's time, and how we treated him.

Joseph Girzone has done an excellent job of telling the story about a man trying to live in our modern society, and yet be true to his beliefs about God and Jesus' teachings.
Kind of lame. I think it ends with the master carpenter taking a Carribean cruise to the Vatican, but he was definitely not handed keys to the pope mobile. The scenes of him carving furniture were pretty good though.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first saw the movie called Joshua and then found a copy of this to read. Wonderful series of books, I have not read the whole set. Joshua-(Jesus) in modern day stories told by a priest who likes to fish.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like these books, but I can see how they could be taken wrong by some. Maybe it is the simple life led by Joshua, similar in a way to Forrest Gump, that appeals to me.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful message this parable provides to all .... I couldn't put the book down .... A challenge is written in these pages, uncover it and walk it out ... Highly recommend it!
Therese B
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is religious but could be enjoyed by those of any religions. Learn a lesson in life in a very nice way.
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JOSEPH F. GIRZONE retired from the active priesthood in 1981 due to health reasons, and embarked on a second career as a writer and speaker.

In 1995 he established the Joshua Foundation, an organization dedicated to making Jesus better known throughout the world.

His bestselling books include Joshua, A Portrait of Jesus, and Never Alone. He lives in Altamont, New York.
More about Joseph F. Girzone...

Other Books in the Series

Joshua (9 books)
  • Joshua and the Children
  • Joshua and the Shepherd
  • Joshua In The Holy Land
  • Joshua and the City
  • Joshua: The Homecoming
  • The Parables of Joshua
  • Joshua in a Troubled World: A Story for Our Time
  • Joshua's Family

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“God has graced you with many gifts, and you are very dear to Him, because you allow Him to use you as a partner in the work He has planned for your life.” 1 likes
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