Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Second Look At LAMB

I am almost finished re-reading LAMB: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BIFF, JESUS CHILDHOOD PAL. It really is perhaps my favorite religious book after the Bible. There is so much in there that seems so very familiar. It is so much closer to what religious experience is really like, I think. Biff isn't made perfect by his closeness to Jesus,  he is made better, surely, but not MUCH better. He's still a sinner, a real and died in the wool sinner, he's just a sinner who tries his best to work for Jesus, and who loves Jesus. That is what really redeems him, his love for Jesus.

The cool thing is the way the writer Christopher Moore peppers in these real and weighty references to the Cross within the wider comedy of the overall book. The book is hilarious, and it focuses on hilarity for the most part. But there is depth in it, too. There is the scene where Biff is overcome by the animal sacrifices in the Temple, and Jesus is talking of God's will, and Biff just gets overwhelmed, overwhelmed because as a reader we know he is on some level intuiting the ultimate end of Jesus life.

Then there is the experience with the yetis, morally perfect and self-aware beings hunted out of existence by human beings. And why? Because they were morally perfect, and because all men are evil (so we are told by Jesus, and indirectly God, in the book). It is as if sinless beings are inevitably destroyed by the sin in the hearts of mankind. Even Biff's focus on martial arts and warfare are about his underlying knowledge that Jesus is likely to be destroyed by the world.

But the figure of Jesus is different. Jesus (called Joshua or "Josh" in the book), is seeking out a way to use his powers in such a way that the world is fundamentally transformed. He also knows his path will lead to death, but he embraces that as a part of his very nature. It is not His inevitable death that Jesus struggles with, but His great power. How does one use power in a world where power corrupts? This is Jesus' central problem, and there is something comedic in that struggle. It is that comedy which drives the book, and that drama which ultimately draws us in.

LAMB, profound and hilarious, irreverent and reverent, offensive and inspiring all at the same time....I've yet to find another book like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment