Manitoba author and Steinbach city councillor Michael Zwaagstra is releasing his third book, titled The Naked Man Flees.
“I really came to see that there are a lot of parts of the Bible that people tend to miss,” says Zwaagstra, explaining his inspiration behind the book.
Zwaagstra suggests Christian movies and superficial reading could be to blame for why areas of the Bible are unknown to so many.
“Even for Christians who do read the Bible, and do so regularly, they can become so familiar with it that they overlook some of the passages and stories because they don’t seem to fit the broader narrative.”
Zwaagstra cites the story of Moses and how popularized retellings of it fail to mention a passage he finds poignant. As he explains it, after Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt, God meets him in the desert and threatens to kill him for not having circumcised his son. His wife immediately circumcises their son, saving her husband from death.
For Jews at the time circumcision was paramount as it established their people from all others. In Zwaagstra’s analysis, the lesson becomes, if one is to lead they must first tend to the fundamentals of their following.
Zwaagstra has led many Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes over the years and says the contents of his book accumulated over time through the intentional study of scripture.
“When you go through chapter by chapter and intentionally don’t leave anything out,” explains Zwaagstra, “you’re kind of forced to deal with some of those difficult parts.”
Zwaagstra, who is a high school teacher, says, unlike his first two books, 'What's Wong With Our Schools' and 'A Sage on the Stage,' which were directed at those in education and focused on policy, this new one is for everyone.
The author admits he hopes for a few reactions.
“I hope people will be inspired to read the Bible more for themselves,” he shares. “I also hope that it sends the message that even the lesser-known parts, there is stuff we can learn there too.”
Zwaagstra’s belief is that the Bible is God-breathed and therefore every passage has relevance. It is for this reason his remaining hope is the reader’s deeper appreciation of the text and its message.
"You have to make the effort not to miss these things."
The Naked Man Flees is currently available on Amazon.ca. It can also be bought personally from him.
In mid-August, the book will be added to shelves in Hull’s Family Book Store in Steinbach and McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg.