Rocks the boat while holding firm to faith that Jesus won’t let it tip over. I’ve long thought that “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life” needed to be challenged. I want to pass the pond completely and go meet the guy who owns it. Maybe He will let us swim and cool off too. Hell, maybe some need to be tossed in. But one will never get there on the dock dorking around with the tackle box. It’s possible that I just like someone who validates my kind of thinking, but I don’t think so.
Dark is onto something. No, some things. Big, important things. He effectively demonstrates how humor paves the way to opening dialogue about uncomfortable subjects in a chapter entitled “Truthiness”, quoting Colbert’s “If Truth be beauty and beauty be Truth, then I look fabulous tonight!” (Ode to a Grecian Urn turned bumper sticker on a beer mug). He questions “offendedness” and the “talkaboutable”, reminding us that our witness sometimes begins with offending sensibilities. It is, after all, a kind of weirdness and going against popular opinion,that got people screaming “crucify him!”. He does this in several ways, including a reminder that Mark Twain and his ilk were not always given the honor and respect for candor we now value dearly.
Every time I hear the cliche, “it’s like peeling an onion”, I’m reminded that onions make people cry and people don’t like to cry. When have you heard someone declare interest in the center of an onion or how the onion might feel about being peeled? Such a huge market for how not to cry while peeling onions exists, to my way of thinking. I love it when Dark reminds us that we, as a society/culture have crafted ways of insulating ourselves from each other. “Such a waste of emotion” is one remark about the movie industry. That we get our tidy catharsis in a theater setting where we don’t have to actually look at each other is an astute observation on his part.
Yes, you could call this book subversive, but overall I maintain that he’s trying to remind us that “The Bible isn’t a collection of voices that learned, over thousands of years, to stop questioning, to silence protests and lamentations. It is a relentless kicking against the status quo, even and especially when the prophets fear that it’s their one true God who’s somehow endorsing it.” Most of all, my take away is for those who mean to follow Jesus, this isn’t the adoption of quiescence.
He seriously calls into question “Love your neighbor as yourself” and what that might look like.
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