Schmuland, Carl. Parables of the Deer: A Journey Toward Christian Maturity. Apopka: Reliance Media, 2012. 284 pp. $19.95. Purchase for less at Amazon.
Carl is a retired engineer and former atheist with a lifelong interest in deer and photography. He lives with his wife, Mary, in Lino Lakes, MN.
After a dramatic Damascus Road conversion in 1986, he has had a passion to have a mature understanding of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27); be prepared to concisely & rationally explain & defend the truth claims of Christianity (1 Peter 3:15-16); and make disciples for Jesus Christ equipping them to do the same (Matthew 28:19-20).
Written as a devotional, the 124 chapters each begin with a picture of various kinds of deer in various settings. Each chapter is designed to draw the reader closer to God while also teaching the doctrines and truths of the Scriptures.
The first part of the book gives a brief survey of the Bible while the second part looks at basic Christian doctrines. The third part examines apologetics and the need for evangelism. This third part comprises more than half of the book.
This devotional is an interesting take the genre. Every chapter is rooted in Scripture but every chapter launches from a characteristic or attribute of the deer. Personally, I am not a deer hunter but I can see how this would appeal to those who are.
Carl covers a lot of ground in this book and offers some very good introductory points on many different topics. He even takes three days to explain the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. He spends two days explaining the gospel in explicit language that everyone can understand.
I am impressed with the undertaking and the ability he has to explain difficult doctrines in a clear and concise manner. In the end, 124 days after beginning this devotional, a Christian will have a solid foundation on basic Christian beliefs.
If you are a deer hunter or know someone who is, you would enjoy this book. Given that it is definitely written for this particular audience, I would only recommend it to those who enjoy the outdoors. It would make a great gift this deer season.