Monday, December 24, 2007

LAMB by Christopher Moore

The Book: Christopher Moore, LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Harper Collins special gift edition, 2007 (signed by the author). As new.
First read: 2002
Owned since: 2007 (this copy)

At this time of year, we who believe in what Tod Goldberg calls the Zombie God (which I think is hilarious) meditate on the mystery of God becoming man, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Most of us are lucky enough to know some very good people -- people who are wise and kind and consistently make decisions for the benefit of others as well as themselves -- and I'd like to think that most of us are always trying to be better people than we naturally are. But what would a man who is God be like? Would he be someone we'd want to know, and if he wasn't, how would so many of us have followed him for so long?

LAMB dares to address this question, and gives us a Jesus (or Joshua, as he's called here) who is very human, struggling to accept and understand his Godlike nature. Joshua's father was an angry god -- the jealous God of the Old Testament -- but Josh's adventures in LAMB show us that only by becoming human could God understand God's own power in the lives of His creations, and the value of that creation to us. LAMB is hilariously funny but deeply reverent; Moore describes himself as a Buddhist with Christian tendencies, but this book is rooted in the assumption that God made us and loves us, and that Jesus came to earth to teach God how to love us.

I have given away at least half a dozen copies of this book since I first bought it, so was delighted when Chris announced the availability of this gift edition earlier this year. It's bound in flexible leather (I think it's faux leather, but it looks real), with gilt-edged pages and red endpapers, just like the Jerusalem Bible I got for my high school graduation and the missal I inherited from my mother.

My sister Peggy gave this book a doubtful look when I handed it to her last night. "Kind of blasphemous, isn't it?" she asked. That's exactly the point. Blasphemy has nothing to do with leather bindings; it's about using the holy to advance the profane, and this book uses the profane to advance the holy. It's the opposite of blasphemy.


Moira said...

You turned me on to this book. I loved it! Thank you.

Linda Brown said...

Yesterday, I gave a copy of the "Bible" edition to friends who had us over for Christmas dinner (as they do every year we're in town), who are active in their Unitarian church. They had not heard of the book or Christopher Moore (gasp!), but were delighted as I described it to them. Later in the evening, I was startled to learn that Jill considers herself an atheist. I've known her for 10-15 years, and never knew that about her. It will be interesting to hear her take on the book.

And, hey, did you hear that Dennis Miller (former stand-up comic, now conservative radio talk show host) raved about how wonderful the book is? I wonder how Chris feels about that...


DKW said...

Nice review, I now must read this book. Looks like a major project you're undertaking here.