Once upon a time, I was in Borders, or as I used to refer to the now defunct bookselling chain, heaven on Earth. I mean it had books, music, movies, AND a coffee shop. As long as new releases kept coming in, I could easily picture myself spending all of eternity in that store. Sadly, I do not think I will ever know if heaven is a giant Borders in the sky. At least not after reading this book that I saw upon the shelf of Borders. The book I recently (and finally) purchased when it came up as a Kindle daily deal.
As a Catholic, I grew up going to church, attending CCD, learning my prayers, beatitudes, commandments, and all the other stuff that goes along with it. I even spent three years at a Catholic college before needing a break to figure out life. I must admit, I love my faith and I do hold to my beliefs. That being said, I can also appreciate a provocative book that may or may not be pure blasphemy. I’m leaning more toward blasphemy though in this particular case.
I say this because the life of Christ fascinates me. In college, I took a course called “Christ the Man, Christ the Word” which studied both the Biblical Jesus and the Jesus who was on the books in Rome’s great census. It was an amazing course because it looked beyond what I had known and had historical documentation to go along with this man that we all know (or at least know of).
Fast forward to that day in Borders where I found Lamb. It raised a question, what happened to Jesus before he started his works? I always wondered how it went for him. He was a person so that means he had to have been a teenager. Did he ever get into trouble? Did he ever go on a trip with his friends? So many years of his life are unaccounted for. Christopher Moore must have wondered too but, I think his imagination is much more creative than mine.
In his book we meet Biff, Joshua’s best friend (Jesus is the Greek name so in the book they refer to Him as Joshua). Biff and Josh grew up living next door to each other, Brian of Monty Python fame must have lived on the other side. From the start of their friendship, Biff knew that there was something different about Joshua when he would bring dead lizards back to life by putting them in his mouth.
As they grew up, the Romans became more prevalent in their lives and they soon realized, with a few visits from one of the angles, that Joshua needed to figure out how to be the messiah. Enter the wise men, the Magi, and a life changing trip that will actually prove to be more insightful than I originally expected.
Despite the biting satire, Biff’s often crude comments, and the treatment of the Magdalene, I could see something deeper in this book (whether Moore intended that or not, I am not completely sure) that spoke to the universality of Christ’s true message of love, tolerance, and forgiveness.
So many things in this book made me say, “yep, my spot will be under the burning lava waterfall for all eternity,” but then a conversation or a sentence would make me say, “maybe that is what that meant.”
Again, if you are someone who is deeply religious and does not believe that there should be any speculation about our Lord on any level, steer clear of this book. However, if you are strong enough in your faith and can handle a light-hearted, sometimes comical speculation of Christ the man, who had the same struggles we do, then give this book a try. I mean if you already saw Jesus Christ Superstar, you’re already in trouble, why not go all out. After all isn’t that why we have confession? Just kidding…