A college professor, Jonah Michelakis, is an expert in the sacred writings of the major religions of the world. His book learning is unequaled, but he does not know the tender, unconditional love of the Creator. An unusually gifted orator with an equally vivid imagination, Dr. Michelakis holds his students spellbound with his “live-in-the-moment” presentations. He “lives” Ezekiel 37. Jonah’s friend and boss, Professor Eldin Jackson, has just reminded him of this chapter in the Bible as a way to answer Jonah’s grandson Xander’s difficult questions about why a loving Creator would let his Nana die. As Jonah reads, he begins to understand God’s power of resurrection. However, this learned man has a dark side: an explosive, uncontrolled temper that his family has tried hard to ignore or tolerate.
Will Jonah learn anything from his biblical namesake? After a bedtime reading of the book of Jonah, Jonah Michelakis finds himself right inside the story. When the great city of Nineveh is not destroyed, Jonah is furious with God. Is it the dry, hot wind and blazing sun that “tenderize” Jonah’s anger ? Or is it the tender voice of God, which gently points out Jonah’s concern for a vine, while urging God to destroy an entire city of now repentant men, women and children?
When Jonah wakes in his own home, a man with a new perspective in a dawning day, two young vandals are scratching his perfectly maintained car. Instead of raging against them, the man walks outside in his pajamas and slippers to confront the young vandals. Jonah is a changed man, who is finally beginning to comprehend the meaning of love.
To the author: “Jonah” is, to its credit, largely a story about love. Professor Eldin Jackson seems to have a pretty good grasp on this topic regarding the Creator. Jonah’s character, a man who sometimes battles his temper, is realistic. Jonah is a man in search of truth, as his office features the Bible, the Tanakh, the Qur’an, the Avesta, and Tripitaka, the Bhagavad Gita and others, and he teaches religious studies. Eldin speaks of “agape” love, the unconditional love of God. However, the narrator speaks of people saying they can’t see God, Allah, Jehovah, “whatever his name is” (page 25), and this may be an area of contention for those of the Judeo-Christian faith if this manuscript is made into a film. We just wanted to note this issue. Another one of these comments is featured on page 30 about a cool angel that the Qur’an says the Creator made from fire. A quotation from the Qur’an on page 42 also talks about the bones being reassembled, like Ezekiel’s bones.
Page 36 speaks of an explosion and a man losing one leg, described as a “bloody mess.” If this manuscript were made into a film, it could not be overly graphic or gratuitous, or we would not be able to award it our Dove Seal. The story offers an analogy to Jonah and the whale, hence the title of the manuscript. It shows a changed man in Jonah by story’s end. We are awarding the manuscript our “Faith-Friendly” Seal for ages 12 plus.