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Peer Work

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Amanda's Letter to Joseph F. Girzone
By Amanda Walker
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2003 Category: Letters About Literature

October 28th, 2002

Dear Mr. Joseph F. Girzone,

I never thought I would be toiling over this letter so much. Your book Joshua at first seemed so simple, light and easy, like a child's bedtime story. But now I feel a bit lost and confused by its complexities. A question that would recur in my mind as I read Joshua was "How does Mr. Girzone know so much? God's really been talking with him. It's like he himself is Jesus...."

Many emotions ran through my mind and heart as I read of the people Joshua met, the different ways they treated him, and the loving ways he treated them. When the young boy gave him a free glass of lemonade showing Joshua his loving concern for others, I was in awe. His name was Peter. And my heart just smiled.

As the story continued and Joshua encountered more and more cynical and cold people, I found I was judgmental and felt cold hearted to those people. Perhaps just as in real life. The rich and snobbish Father Darby received a thought of disdain from me while receiving an opportunity from Joshua. That opportunity was to change. I read in amazement and wonder at Joshua's patience and unending kindness to Father Darby. And when, at last, the time came for the cold pastor to receive the full message from the statue of Peter, I was again in awe. My heart smiled yet again and praised God, for it was like witnessing a miracle. It truly felt like it.

I was confused when Joshua continually called the pope Peter. And I can't help but wonder if there is a greater message in the book that has to do with Peter the Apostle. I have never read so many references to him, but now I want to know more. In Joshua, you stated facts about Peter that made me admire him and find him in myself. Peter had many faults and committed many sins, but always turned back to God, and was always forgiven. He continued to learn and change for the better, and became a great man. I find him an inspiration in his true devotion to and love for God and people.

The repeated message Joshua gave to all those who asked of his views of the church really made me stop and analyze how it applied today. Joshua said that God and Jesus intended for faith and religion to be free and loving and happy. There should not be authority and power in the priests, rabbis, bishops, cardinals, and such. These men are only to be there as a simple guide and gentle, helping hand. To have one of these positions in the church is not for power over others or glory or riches. It is a humble position, and perhaps hard to fill correctly. I feel blessed because of my community's own priests. Our parish has gone through many pastors, and I feel that all of them have been humble, loving, and gentle shepherds, just as they ought to. However, my mind has become aware of this idea of freedom in your religion, and I feel somewhat relieved that I may not be in the wrong if I do not agree with some of the Church's laws and beliefs.

Joshua's teachings and way of living will forever make me stop to think of how my way of life could better improve. Your book has made me desire to judge less, become more humble, simplify my life, and give my all to God and others.

Joshua said, "All that God wants is that we love him and love one another and in doing that, find happiness. It is all so very simple." It is, and I have. Thank you, Mr. Girzone.

Sincerely,

Amanda Walker
11th Grade
Robert Service High School,
Anchorage, Alaska
Teacher: Mrs. Patti Irwin

 


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