Item description for The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul by William Miller...
Overview Writing with an earthy sense of humor, Miller explores spirituality in the everyday world inhabited by humans and their animal friends.
Publishers Description "The Gospel According to Sam" is a collection of thirty "animal stories for the soul," written by William Miller, a priest who's considered to be one of the best preachers in the Episcopal Church. The "Sam" in the title is Miller's Airedale, a lovable, "wounded healer" of a dog who survived a house fire that burned off his ears but couldn't extinguish his spirit. Sam becomes a vehicle for healing, humor, adventure, spiritual growth, and prayer for Miller and his parishioners. Sam isn't a typical warm-fuzzy, feel-good animal stories book, however. Miller writes with an earthy sense of humor and a Southern voice that has the reader laughing out loud--think of Molly Ivins, but with the voice of faith and prayer added in for good measure, and a low tolerance for sickly sweet theology. But then he slips in the zinger that cuts through the laughter and goes for the soul. His meditations aren't limited to Sam or even just dogs; birds, pigs, squirrels, rabbits, fish, bugs, and even yaks feature in his stories. An honest awareness and appreciation of the depth and breath of life are hallmarks of these real life adventures and thought provoking reflections.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul by William Miller has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Advance - 09/01/2005 page 75
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul?
For anyone who loves dogs, humans, life or God -- or wishes they did Sep 6, 2007
Fr. Bill Miller is the kind of priest I wish every church could have. And when you read him, you feel he is the kind of friend whose acquaintance you are so glad to have made you want to keep him on speed-dial for the rest of your natural days.
I happen to love dogs, but this book of Bill's is hardly one of those shopping mall specials of the too-cute-for-words, well-intended but theologically suspect book of essays espousing "salvation through dog slobber" one sees so often. What the reader finds is a flesh and blood adult male (though that term is dangerously close to a tautology) who honestly wrestles with faith, doubt, love, betrayal, self-discovery, self-sacrifice, life, death and even cheese. And that's just when he is writing about dogs -- okay, dogs, and the people who love dogs, and some that don't...do you see what I mean? Bill writes normally the way most clergy wish they could preach on their best days, (and the way most people in the pews wish they did too) and yet he somehow never comes off as "preachy". Not even once. How does he do that? Beats the heck out of me, yet it makes this book an easy read though inarguably substantive all the same.
I'd like to say that I could recommend this book without reservation, but as an Episcopal priest myself, I am obliged to find exceptions to nearly everything. Thus, this book may not be for everyone. In fact, it ought to come with a warning label, alerting buyers to potentially embarassing social situations. When I was reading, "The Gospel According To Sam" inflight, the people in the rows around me became annoyed (or perhaps jealous) by the frequent, sudden if uncontrollable outbursts of laughter it caused. At the opposite end of the spectrum was the mortification suffered by my 16 year old daughter when seeing her fifty-something father with tears streaming down his face -- in public, no less -- when trying to retell the moving story (Chapter 9, "Eating Squirrel") of Bill's growing up in hard-scrabble Texas with a father who had no understanding much less appreciation of the boy Bill was nor the man he would become.
So, in all honesty, I cannot recommend this book to everyone. If you need a "how to" book on house-training puppies, this isn't it. Nor is it some canine-version of Christian apologetics*, its appealing photo of Sam on the cover notwithstanding.
But apart from those two exceptions, I would say just about everyone else will enjoy this book, will learn from it, and will (when finished reading it) eagerly await Fr. Bill's next efforts. And when you buy one for yourself, you may discover, as I did, you have to buy a second and third copy -- for my friends to read -- and return (eventually).
But they can't have my copy. Every so often, I feel the need for a good laugh...or a good cry...or the insight of a good friend. In the pages of, "The Gospel According To Sam," I know any one or all three may await.
* "...explaining the Doctrine of the Trinity so well that even an English Setter can understand it!"
If you know dogs are a way to God... Apr 25, 2007
...this is the book for you. Funny, earthy, wise, gripping, sad. If you love dogs and know they have souls, this is your book. If you love piety and think churches are holy places, you will find other books better suited to your taste. This is for those who search for God, and those who love and learn from, and also grieve for, pets loved and lost.
The Gosel According to sam: Feb 13, 2007
A wonderful story and I laughed and cried as I read this. Bill Miller puts his heart and soul into sharing his experiences about Sam with us.
Great book -- with one exception ... Sep 22, 2006
Wonderful story telling and I highly recomend it for all dog lovers. The next to last chapter doesn't seem to fit the rest of the book. The encounter with young girls detracts from the story line in my opinion.
Excellent! Dec 13, 2005
The Gospel According to Sam is a wonderful collection of true stories of one man's journey, his dog Sam and their sometimes impetuous adventures. Each story will warm your heart and make you laugh out loud. I loved it so much, I am giving several copies this holiday season to a variety of people (Episcopal, Catholic, Jewish and a couple that doesn't go to chuch). The Gospel According to Sam is a book that anyone can enjoy and appreciate!