This might only make sense for those who have read or are reading the book… but I don’t have much time so I’m not going to spell things out too much.
Read this extract from chapter one to get an idea of the book.
The whole ‘emotional sense’ thing is a brilliant idea. And it’s wonderfully written. Here are 6 thoughts:
1) The book connects every time it’s about sin and Jesus. It floats away on Spufford’s soaring prose the rest of the time.
2) Spufford continually speaks of sin as the “human potential to f*#k things up”. That’s very well put. If I was Spufford, I’d object to any priggishness about the term. ‘Transgression’ and ‘iniquity’ don’t describe transgressions and iniquities the way we experience them today. “F#@k ups” do. Jesus meets us here or not at all.
3) “Yeshua” – his Jesus chapter – is the stand-out. (Surprise, surprise).
4) Jesus shines. Spufford’s “God”, on the other hand seems simply to be a “Shining” and so, ironically, he doesn’t.
5) Spufford is strong on the uncontainable, unreachable, beautiful-yet-bonkers teaching of Jesus. On the issues of forgiveness, generosity, worry and non-violence, Spufford captures the irrepressible overflow of the kingdom. These sections are very refreshing to read, but…
6) …Spufford doesn’t follow this same trajectory when he treats Jesus’ teaching on sexuality and hell. He hides it away saying, on the one hand, that Jesus speaks very little about sex and, on the other, that the church doesn’t really believe in hell anymore, so… Well, so Spufford should have treated Christ’s teaching here, the way he treats it on every other subject: bonkers-but-beautiful, demanding more from us than could possibly lie within us – and, at the same time, speaking of a Kingdom and King in which these things are and can be.
Spufford points attractively towards a fruitful line of gospel engagement. Let’s pray others follow.