My apologies for the fact that I’m a bit behind on the post; Friday was a bit nuts for me this week. But here it is! Yay! Now you can open the work week with this rather than ending it!
Yeah, even I’m not that excited about what I have to say. I’ll try to be back on the ball this Friday, but I make no promises.
So, What Jesus Meant. I’m going to go get my own copy of this (this copy was a loan) and re-read it, slowly, really digging into what Wills is saying. This really does need to be savored, I think, along the lines of the quote from Donald Miller about the Bible being more like eating chocolate than salad. It’s the seemingly simple things that are the most complex sometimes.
And this is, on the face of it, a very simple book. I was actually a bit leery of it at first, because it’s thin and has a rather large typeface and, well, I’m an academic. I’ve been taught that if it’s not jam-packed with info, somebody’s cheating somewhere.
The sparseness works for it, though, because it underlines Wills’s main point—-the Church has spent a couple thousand years taking the simple, direct, and different words of Jesus and sort of sprucing them up, fixing the grammar, adding churchy terminology and otherwise trying to “enhance” or ” clarify” a message perhaps better left to its austerity. In a way, it’s actually very similar to what my friend Interpreter was talking about last Sunday concerning the tradition of the ancient Jewish leaders layering laws upon laws upon the 10 commandments—-the original wasn’t enough, we have to add and define so we “better” understand what God was trying to say.
But then, of course, we get in our own way. We think that the words of Jesus need to be elevated, poetical, beautiful–and some of them are. More of them are pointed, direct, and utterly difficult to truly live by. Wills’s translations (which he did himself, kudos to him) are rough around the edges and sometimes a little ugly in English, but they get the point across of this radical guy who quietly flipped the world over. I respect what Wills is trying to do–I don’t necessarily agree with some of his interpretations, but I think that he allows for how much our grasping of the NT is interpretation, which is another thing I really respect about his writing.
All in all, a very thought-provoking read, which is what you want out of spiritual literature, right? Sure.
[And in a side note, what do you think of the new layout? I’m still experimenting with how I want this to look, I’d love feedback.]
Rating: 5/5 stars