On Every Side by Karen Kingsbury was written in 2001 but it could have been based on today’s headlines. It’s a story about life and death, love and loss, good versus evil, fragile relationships, the hard things that happen in life, and the controversial topic that never sleeps – the question of the separation of church and state.
The story centers around an old but popular Jesus statue that has graced the center of Jericho Park in Bethany, Pennsylvania for more than a hundred years. The statue is special to many people in Bethany including Faith Evans, the local TV news reporter. However, a visitor arrives to file suit against the town of Bethany, claiming the statue implies a government endorsement of Christianity. Jordan Riley, the visitor who filed the suit claims the statue forces Christianity upon park visitors; but Jordan is not just a visitor. His history in Bethany has left him angry at God.
Jordan’s anger seems firmly planted in soils of resentment with roots running so deep that he might never return to his former self – one who once loved God (and Faith Evans) with all his heart.
After many years of separation, Faith and Jordan meet at a diner on the day of Jordan’s arrival in Bethany which begins a roller-coaster ride of emotions as the story plays out. Obviously, Faith’s excitement over seeing Jordan doesn’t last long. How can two people who find themselves on opposing sides of a spiritual battle remain friends?
There is sort of a play on an old Bible story wrapped up in the pages of On Every Side. The park’s name is JERICHO Park. Jordan Riley asked for a WALL to be erected around the Jesus statue. The attorney representing religious freedom for the city of Bethany is named . . . Joshua. Readers who are familiar with the Bible story about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho will understand what I’m talking about. [Read more…]