Mondays with My Old Pastor by Jose Luis Navajo is an oasis in the midst of the deserts of ministry. It was a book written originally in Spanish and translated into English. Jose is a member of the pastoral team of Salem Evangelical Church in Madrid, Spain. The wisdom imparted by his old pastor and mentor inspired and encouraged me.
A tired, new pastor (Jose) overwhelmed by the challenges of leading a church, finds new strength in a mentor who is at the end of his life. The old pastor uses legends, myth and scripture to inspire Jose to find new joy in his chosen calling. Some obvious problems were discovered in the writing.
In spite of clear violations of avoiding cliches like the plague, Jose writes very well. Though his prose is visionary and brings you the sights and smells of his old pastor’s home, it also uses a lot of slang in the beginning. Jose included in every chapter the pauses, distractions, and rabbit trails that commonly happen in real life conversations, and I thought those could have been cut. Jose struggles with running a church as their new pastor and experiences unexplainable things that happen in his dreams and at the old pastor’s refuge.
This book is full of other-worldly wisdom, but in my cynicism, I questioned the roses that bloomed every day Jose finished visiting his old pastor. I questioned the roses reappearing after the death of the old pastor when Jose re-committed to his calling. Was it beautiful symbolism or supernatural? Was this a work of embellished nonfiction? I searched the introduction and the pages following the end of the book, but found this was a true story with only references to the stories the old pastor relayed as being myth and legend.
For any pastor or ministry leader, this book is a gem. For someone tired of the hypocrisy of Christianity and hasn’t yet seen his own hypocrisy, this book is for them. Because of its wisdom and encouragement, I chose not to delete the book. Instead, it was archived in case I need encouragement later.
Overall, I gave this book four stars.