Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Missing Gospel

A few months ago we read a travelogue (The sex lives of cannibals) and in a way, I kind of expected it to be like this book.  Not in terms of content, but I was expecting something that could be laugh out loud funny, with researched undertones.  I found the former to be bit of a let down, and this book was a really pleasant surprise.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  In some ways, it ended too soon for my liking, and even the epilogue wrapped up too quickly.  I am familiar with the bible, and have read a wide range of topics.  I am no expert, but I know what rings true for me.  In some ways this book is heretical, and other ways, so grounded and such an unique take on such an important religious idea/topic/person that it is not one to be taken lightly.

This is the story of Levi, also known as Biff, that is the best friend of Joshua, son of Mary and Joseph whom would be later known as Jesus Christ.  Much has been made of Christ's life after he turns 30, but not a lot has been made of his life up until that point.  Remove the religious aspect of this novel, and this is a coming of age novel of two young boys.  How Biff and Joshua bond, the bonds of their friendship, and how they grow and mature together.  At this times, this is laugh out loud funny.  At times, I really had to pause and to reflect upon what I was learning.  Who knows what parts could be accurate (and this book is not trying to be accurate), but there are some ideas buried in here that make a lot of sense.

Regardless of whether or not you are religious, Joshua as a person is very likeable in this book.  This novel brings the person behind the name and the religion to life as a person that made mistakes and wanted to learn, and reminds you of the basic and simple values that he preached (compassion, humility, love for your fellow humans, etc). I have some ideas about religion, and that there is no one true path, rather the path that is unique to yourself as you discover the god/love/divine spark within and this book nicely fits in there, somewhere.  I will keep this one on my bookshelf for a future look and it is well worth the time between its covers.  You WILL laugh, and you will hopefully get something out of this as well.

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