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Markings/My Own
Musings on the Gospel of Mark

Omar Eby

Foreword by Lee Snyder


Summary: Neither commentary nor traditional meditations, Eby’s Markings are a spiritual memoir. His musings on 70 episodes or texts in the Gospel of Mark blend intellectual inquiry with confessional worship. They meld poignancy, whimsy, grit, doubt, sorrow, and inspiration. Anyone attending to the care of her or his soul will find nurture here.

Eby’s project emerged from the practice of old spiritual disciplines: Bible Study, meditation, prayer, contemplation, silence, writing. Using the Gospel of Mark for his own Markings, Eby explored the Gospel through the grid of his forty years teaching literature at the college level, reading and writing, listening to music, walking in the orchard and woods, living in Africa, heeding one wise woman, rearing children, stumbling towards God. Then, under the influence of a given text and personal memory, he sat down and wrote, yielding these personal musings on a spare but elegant Gospel.

It can be said of this book as did one British critic of C. S. Lewis’, "He makes righteousness readable."

Comment: "Imagine overhearing an honest exchange between a middle-aged man and the biblical book of Mark. Many details of Omar Eby's life--the literature he has taught, hymns he loves, adventures and struggles he recalls, friends, family, and students--find voice in these rich and eclectic devotional meditations. Personal, immediate, searching, and often surprising, the pleasures of this text are the pleasures of eaves dropping on intelligent, soulful conversations."
—Julia Kasdorf, Author of The Sleeing Preaching and of Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American

"With the richness of Eby’s literary skill, Markings creatively engages Mark’s Gospel through the lens of Eby’s life experiences. Spiritual reflection from this engagement is spiced often by arresting information drawn from Palestinian and African geographical features or customs. Not a commentary and not a journal as such, these 70 brief musings on Mark are soul food, seasoned to distinctive gourmet taste—in spite of and perhaps as fruit of his disciplined lunch-fasting during his years of college teaching."
—Willard M. Swartley, Professor of New Testament, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

"With a bent toward survival by wit and a love of the outrageous, the author conveys, paradoxically perhaps, a gracious witness to the incomparable ways of God among humankind."
—Lee Snyder, President, Bluffton College,
more, in the Foreword

The book records, with great immediacy, Eby's responses based on his career and on his personal life. More. . . .
—Laura H. Weaver, Professor Emerita of English, University of Evansville

The Author: Omar Eby, Harrisonburg, Virginia, taught for six years in Africa, including in Mogadishu, Somalia; Musoma, Tanzania; and Kitwe, Zambia. He took graduate degrees in journalism from Syracuse University and creative writing from the University of Virginia. He holds the B.A. in English from Eastern Mennonite University, where he taught writing and literature for 27 years before taking early retirement to pursue his own writing. Eby has published books of fiction, biography, and personal experience.

Quote: "A saint attentive to nature hears in the mountains, the deserts, the savannas another language of God, not just the Hebrew and Aramaic tongue of the Testaments. The physical world embodies a spiritual world, concealed from those who have eyes only for the glitter of Broadway or the glitz of televangelists. Saints discover that all living and growing manifestations of nature give glory to God by being exactly what he has destined them to be. This is something of the ‘inscape’ of which poet Gerard Manley Hopkins writes, this inarticulate utterance by a natural object of an identity which it has from and in God; this inexhaustible spiritual sheen radiates out through the fragile film of matter.". —Omar Eby, in Markings

Market: Anyone engaged by a creative blend of personal reflections with thoughtful and inspirational Bible study; readers of devotional material; pastors, preachers, worship leaders.

Shelving: Spiritual memoir; Personal narrative; Gospel of Mark—experiential commentary, contemplative reflections; Inspiration. BISAC: Autobiography; Religion. RTM: 170 Autobiography; 500 Literature/Classics; 690 Religion/Ethics

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House (the new name of Pandora Press U.S.)
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: July 2003
Pages: 236
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 trade paper
Tentative Prices: $14.95 US, $22.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-18-X


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Copyright 2003 by Cascadia Publishing House (the new name of Pandora Press U.S.)
publisher of DreamSeeker Books
12/03/07