Above is a link to Ruth Graham‘s profile of Sarah Young, author of the Christian devotional bestseller Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah YoungYoung’s device of writing as Jesus has aroused some controversy, which Graham says the book’s publisher is attempting to limit:

Thomas Nelson specifically requested I not use the word “channeling” to describe Young’s first-person writing in the voice of Jesus–the word has New Age connotations–but it’s hard to avoid it in describing the book’s rhetorical approach.

“Channeling,” however, suggests a passive person being used as outlet by an active spirit, a situation which occurs very rarely, if ever. The reverse of this would be an active, lesser person hijacking the authority of a passive icon — a situation which occurs all too commonly. People often put words in the mouths of “the founding fathers,” and everyone is familiar with the “humbug” exposed for speaking as “the great and powerful Oz.”

The trick of throwing one’s voice is commonly staged as “ventriloquism.” Is Sarah Young using Jesus as her dummy, or is her writing more akin to fan fiction?

The topic of Jesus Calling came up because the book was noted in an April 23, 2015 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s religious influences as being the book from which he and his wife Tonette read daily devotions.

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