I’m not a big book reader. I do my best, and when I find a good book it’s difficult to put it down, but I am far from considering myself well read. But this past year was a very significant year in reading for me because of how we are doing our message series with theStory. We spent 8 months in Genesis and we are half way through spending 8 months in the parables. We grabbed a bunch of books on what we were doing and out of both piles have come most of my reading for the last while.
The best book this year by far was by an author I had never even heard of before 2008. Joe picked up a book by him called Hunting the Divine Fox and he loved it so he grabbed his book on the parables while he was at it. After reading the first chapter I have officially dubbed it a serious landmark in my life. Very few books have done that for me. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren are the only two other books that I can really give that kind of credit to, and I read those books when I was 16 and 18, so it’s been six years since I really felt so energized and excited about a book.
The author’s name is Robert Farrar Capon, and the book I’m reading is called Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus. The book has done a number on me in more ways than I can mention. First, it is written so I can read it. Capon is hilarious, fun and lighthearted as he goes through almost every parable that Jesus told. You don’t feel like you are reading theology but you are. This book has given legs to a lot of feelings I’ve had to what some people call universalism, I like to call it grace. Third, this book gave me an entire new perspective on Jesus and his ministry. The way he ties the four gospels together and watching him unpack the parables along with historical timelines and theology was fascinating. This book got me excited about Jesus and the kingdom all over again.
The next book is called Genesis by William Turner. We bought this book because a respected source told us to. We had to spend $120 to buy it because it is out of print and now you’re looking at almost $150 to get it. I would have paid triple for it and Genesis would not have gone the same way if we didn’t get this book. Turner helped make sense of and make connections inside Genesis that I never would have guessed. He wrote the book like he read Genesis. He refused to look forward while reading and read into the text but only look backwards and tie things into things in the past, which made for a very interesting read because you’d be surprised at how much of our own biases we read into Genesis. This book reminded me of my OT class back in university where every class I would walk away in awe because I just couldn’t believe how amazing the stuff was that I was reading.
Well this book is definitely more well known it was the first political book I had ever read fully. Which of course has scarred me for life. The entire book was just extremely interesting and informative about all sorts of things that I never even knew happened let alone interesting facts behind the stories.