Friday, February 4, 2011

The Greatest Prayer

(Disclaimer: HarperOne gave me a copy of this book for free to review. No one is paying me for this review . . . unfortunately.)

I assume that most of the people reading this blog are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. Some of us recite it every Sunday at church, some during weddings, and some have it framed on our wall. There is even a special cross you can order that, when you look through it, you can read the Lord’s Prayer in it’s entirety. However, could it be that the prayer is more than just a comforting prayer of devotion? Have we overlooked the prayer's more radical aspects?

According to biblical scholar/historian John Dominic Crossan, the answer is yes.

In his latest book, The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer, Crossan uses history and scripture to uncover the more social/political aspects of the Lord's Prayer. According to Crossan, since God is referred to as "Father," this signifies that God is the Divine Householder who makes sure that everyone in the household have enough. And as heirs to God and joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17), it's our job, as Christians, to be "stewards of a world that we must maintain in justice and equality." (p. 182) As children of God, we get to participate in His Great Divine Cleanup of the World, which is God's way of setting the wrong things right.

While some passages are a bit slow-moving, overall Crossan does a great job getting his (or perhaps its really God's) message across. Even though he can be a bit unorthodox (like his colleague Marcus Borg, Crossan also doubts that the tomb really ways empty), I think he doesn't stray far from biblical teaching (or at least how I understand what the Bible teaches). As I've been exploring my faith during the past year, I've discovered that personal salvation and stewardship for God's creation (meaning both nature and mankind) are both facets of the Gospel. You can't have one without the other.

Final score: 4 out 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. "God is the Divine Householder who makes sure that everyone in the household have enough..."

    I guess he's not doing so good at keeping up with that little chore given how many of us die for lack of food, sanitation, medical care, etc.