The Gospel According to Josh By Josh Rivedal, A Review

Gospel Josh(PCM) The Gospel According To Josh is a memoir of a young man who had to deal with his father’s suicide as well as his desire to end his own life. It is a book that never lets the reader down as he or she Journey’s with Josh down a hard a tear stained highway.

Josh Rivedal’s book begins with a synopsis of his childhood and his strained relationship with his dad. It moves forward quickly to the divorce of his parents and then comes even more quickly to his dad’s suicide. Josh handles this part of the book with a sense of dark humor. The humor is never disrespectful; it is honest in its telling. In fact Josh’s style of writing of really bad situations in a way allows the impact to come full force but without hurting the reader is a wonder all by itself, how he eventually puts this power to use is a marvelous gift to all of us.

The author then tells of the issues and the court hearing regarding his father’s estate. He tells us of his relationship with his girlfriend which feels the strain of his family issues and eventually comes to an end. Josh then opens his heart completely about his depression, his confusion on what to do with his life and his own desire to bring his life to an end.

The story doesn’t end there, the miracles start to happen. Josh opts to reach out for help instead. He finds joy in life where he can, and because he does not wish for anyone else to go through what he has gone through, he turns his father’s story and his own into a one man play and begins to find ways to add a suicide prevention message to the story as well as to have a panel of experts to help field questions after the show.

This book has many other layers that I have not even begun to explore here. It should be required high school reading and it should be read by every parent in America. It should be read by the broken hearted as well because with in these pages lies hope.

The word Gospel has a simple meaning; it means “Good News.” So the Gospel according to Josh is truly the good news according to Josh. The good news is simple, Josh proves that with work and a plan life can get better. He proves through his writing that suicide is not really an answer, and most importantly he points the way for others to find the answers they need.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has contemplated suicide and for anyone who has a friend or a family member that has attempted suicide or has actually completed the act. There is hope and healing in The Gospel According To Josh.

The post The Gospel According to Josh By Josh Rivedal, A Review also appeared on PCM Reviews.

Amazing Grace William Wilberforce and the heroic campaign to end slavery By Eric Metaxas A Review

amazing grace 2(PCM) Occasionally it’s good to take a look at your book shelf or shelves and think “What haven’t I read that I should have read a long time ago?” Such was the case with Eric Metaxas book Amazing Grace. The book came out as a tie in to the film that was made in 2007. Having seen the film I bought the book as William Wilberforce captivated me at the time. Then as happens often, I never got around to reading it. A mistake I now regret.

Wilberforce was the driving force behind the campaign to end the slave trade and to end slavery itself in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. He was born August 24, 1759 and died July 29, 1833. He was a small man of stature but a great orator and his voice still rings down the centuries today. This is because what he started still has its effects on all of us.

Wilberforce began his career in Parliament in his twenties. He was known as a great wit and had a wonderful singing voice both of which endeared him to many people. He was also a bit of party boy and enjoyed cards and drinking. He belonged to five of the most prestigious clubs in London and was well liked. He was best friends with William Pitt who would soon become the youngest Prime Minister in English History. But Wilberforce’s personality would soon go through what he would refer to as “The Great Change.”

Methodists were not the middle of the road modest church that it is today back in the 17th century. Methodist were, people, much like Saint Francis who had decided to follow Jesus Christ with their whole being. Wilberforce had been exposed to Methodism as a young boy, but his parents took him away from it as fast as possible as being a Methodist was unacceptable at the time. In fact being a sincere follower of Christianity in any form was basically unacceptable. People went to church and gave lip service to God but no one took faith too seriously. In fact it was during his youth that Wilberforce would meet John Newton. The ex-slave ship captain turned Methodist who would pen perhaps the world’s best loved hymn Amazing Grace.

The “Great Change” came for Wilberforce when he began to have multiple discussions with newly made friends about the Bible and Jesus. During these discussions Wilberforce came to acknowledge that Jesus really did come suffer die and rise again for the forgiveness of his sins. With that realization came a complete change in the Wilberforce that was so well known. He resigned from his clubs gave up drinking and gambling and began to chase after his two great goals in life, the abolishment of slavery and the reform of manners.

It is important to note here that Wilberforce continued to be a well-liked young man in society. His new faith made him gleam a little brighter. His wit and his singing voice were still quite good and he made people feel at ease with him. In his entire life he would always have friends from all walks of life.

Manners did not mean the same thing in the 17th and 18th centuries that it means today. Manners did not refer to which fork you ate what with and to say please and thank you. Manners were the way you treated people, period. Manners were about taking care of the poor and the destitute. Prior to Wilberforce most rich people felt that the poor were supposed to be poor and one did not help them.

There were few to no social programs. There was a social ladder and you stayed on the rung you were born on. Wilberforce through use of his seat in Parliament and through the use of his own fortune would change all of that. He set up schools for children. He began homes for women who wanted to get away from prostitution. He set up places for women and children to get the help they needed. He became, in essence, the conscience of England. And because of him the great Victorian Age would come to the world. In fact I think it is safe to say that without Wilberforce the novels of Charles Dickens would never have been written.

Wilberforce, of course is more famous for his relentless work in the abolishment of slavery. This would take his entire life to accomplish. First there was the ending of the trade itself and then there was ending of slavery. It took years for even the ending of the trade which was barbaric. People did not know how slaves were treated. That their own countrymen would sell them out to slave traders who would then transport them in spaces no bigger than a coffin. With little to eat and sanitary conditions non-existent many of the slaves died on the ships before they could be sold. The English people knew nothing about this, in much the same way we today don’t know what really goes on in a slaughter house.

Wilberforce and his friends made people aware and also made people see that they had a voice in government, also new at the time. Petitions were signed people became active and after many years of hard work the abolishment of the slave trade occurred. It would take until just a few weeks before the end of Wilberforce’s life for the emancipation of the English slaves to happen.

Eric Metaxas has written a wonderful book in the telling of the life of William Wilberforce. His prose make you feel as if you were there and you understand the horror that was the salve trade. This is no boring book of dates and facts but the story of a very human man who faced great odds and overcame them. And, though, the book has been out for some years now it is still available for purchase and I highly recommend you do so.

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The Gospel According To Josh

Josh RivedaleAfter a 60-city tour, Huffington Post columnist, playwright, performer, and international public speaker Josh Rivedal returns to New York City with The Gospel According to Josh—his autobiographical 30-character, 1-man show described as a parable, a mitzvah, and a comedy all rolled into one. Brent Buell directs. Four performances will be staged at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street in NYC from May 16-18, 2014. Performances will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org).

By the time he turns twenty-five, Josh thinks he’ll have had the perfect life—a few years singing on Broadway, followed by a starring role in his own television show. After which, his getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and his face would grace the cover of the National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Instead, his resume is filled with an assortment of minor league theatre and an appearance on “The Maury Povich Show”—a career sidetracked by his father’s untimely death. Tortured by his thoughts, he finds himself on the ledge of a fourth floor window, contemplating jumping out—in turn he must reach out to the only person who can help him before it’s too late. Featuring cameos by Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., and Elvis; The Gospel According to Josh is a comedic and poignant true-to-life tale of love, loss, struggle, and survival—a gospel account of one young man’s passage into manhood—his twenty-eight-year Gentile bar mitzvah.
Josh Rivedal (playwright and performer) serves on the board of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and on the advisory board for Elijah’s Journey: A Jewish Response to Suicide Prevention. He is a regular contributor on mental health in The Huffington Post. As an actor, Josh has appeared on stages from New York, to Chicago, to Oahu. Josh is currently working on curating a compilation book “The Good News Project: Vol. 1″ where 40 authors share stories of inspiration and good news—a portion of proceeds will be donated to 40 different charities. He is also working on a YA fantasy novel with a language learning component. His memoir “The Gospel According to Josh” was published in 2013 and added to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s recommended reading list for survivors of suicide loss.
Brent Buell (director) has taken the directorial helm on such works as Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s award-winning one-man show unFRAMED and From Sing Sing to Broadway, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in NYC. For nearly ten years, Buell volunteered with the non-profit organization Rehabilitation Through the Arts, directing theater in New York’s maximum-security prisons. There his productions of plays have earned praise from critics, including from The New York Times. As an actor, Buell has appeared in classic roles from Shakespeare and Ibsen to Moliere and Strindberg. Brent is lead producer for Pat Blake’s upcoming FREEDOM: The Musical starring Maino, coming Off Broadway, Fall 2014. His outrageous new political parody, “Rapturous,” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at local booksellers.
Tickets are $47.50 and can be purchased by visiting gospeljosh.com.
Performances are Friday @ 7pm, Saturday @ 2pm & 7pm, and Sunday @ 3pm. The Players Theatre is located at 115 Mac Dougal Street, New York, NY 10012.
Past Praise for Josh Rivedal
“The Gospel… is a compassionate tale of life, loss, under-achievement and perseverance… There isn’t one moment during the show where you’re lost, bored, or even close to contemplating being anywhere else but your seat.” – ReviewFix.com
The Gospel is a personal yet lighthearted show about one man’s journey to discover his own fate and identity. The fact that there are a slew of songs and caricatures thrown in makes for a smooth and amusing ride.” – Show Business Weekly
“With an easygoing voice and manner similar to Jeff Anderson who played Randal in Clerks and the ability to morph into various characters, Rivedal is an engaging performer.” – Pataphysical Science
“Rivedal possesses a strong boy-next-door likability and a surprisingly malleable singing voice that can handle hard rock, gospel, and musical theatre with equal aplomb.” – Talkin’ Broadway

By Josh Rivedal

 

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