The first Sherlock Holmes story was published in 1887. Ever since, the brilliant detective has fascinated readers and viewers. Trisha Priebe’s devotional attempts to draw from the Holmes canon spiritual truths to inspire the Christian’s life. The publisher states that “this book investigates the spiritual truths we can discern from this enigmatic fictional character – a brusque, stubborn, and arrogant man who also shows honor, trust, and self-sacrificing friendship.”
Unfortunately, Priebe’s investigation does not reveal all that it could reveal.
I liked the concept, which is what drew me to read the book. I’m always interested in how others make connections between faith and pop culture – and yes even though Sherlock Holmes’ first appearance was in 1887, he is just as part of our pop culture as James Bond or Bruce Wayne. The best parts of this book are the first half of each of the devotionals where Priebe shares information about the different stories or events leading up to the writing of those stories. Here she reveals interesting facts about the character, his legacy, and his creator Arthur Conan Doyle.
A devotional is one of the tools in the Christian’s toolbox to build his or her relationship with God. As such, they should leave room for the reader to come to his or her own conclusions as to how the devotional is speaking to him or her. That is the nature of building one’s relationship with God. Through the relationship you are building with God, together you discern the areas of growth in your life.
There is a tread, however, where the devotional tends to be a book of do’s and don’t. Priebe tends to lean in this direction. There are moments when she has excellent things to say, for example: “Go instructs us to love other people, and yet we believe it would be better to pick and choose who deserves our kind affection.” That is a statement I can get behind.
But too often, there is talk about the believer vs. the non-believer, as if the non-believer is the opponent, and who we do not want to become. These general statements tend to go against the statement made above regarding picking and choosing. We can call to individuals to a deeper relationship with God without the us vs. them mentality that we have seen drives young people away from the Church. And, frankly, it got to be too much for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital review copy.