How could so many preachers have it wrong about Jesus? Do the Gospels seem stale and irrelevant? Does God really love you, or just pretend to love you?
Do the words of Jesus seem harsh to you? Judgmental? Confusing? Is it possible to understand the stories he told in a different way? Did did Jesus really expect people to sell all their possessions, or to hate their fathers and mothers? Or is it possible that both Jesus and the gospel writers were using literary devices to weave a variety of meanings into the fabric of Jesus’ life and the stories he told? On the surface, the stories appear to mean one thing, but beneath the surface surprises lurk!
In this book, Rob Gieselmann, presents twelve parables, stories, and actions of Jesus to re-view them in the light of irony. As a priest in the Episcopal Church, Rob has taught the gospels for twenty years, urging students to look behind scripture’s veil of words to discover creative and unexpected wisdom. His previous books include, The Episcopal Call to Love, and A Walk Through the Churchyard.
Irony and Jesus presents eleven instances of ironic stories found in the gospels and one found in the Good Friday tradition, exploring interpretations often ignored or hidden by mainstream interpreters. For example, when Jesus scolded Peter for lacking faith while walking on water, Peter sank. What if Jesus scolded Peter not for his immature faith’s inability to hold him afloat, but instead because Peter lacked the faith necessary to stay in the boat?
We often treat Scripture as a judgmental school teacher rather than as a gentle mentor leading us into a more mature experience of faith. Yet, so much of Jesus and his words, are, in the end, about the fact that God really does love everybody—everybody, scandalously, which must mean, in the end, that God loves you, just as you are. What if you read scripture through that lens, rather than the more typical judgmental lens?
A lens like that can change a life. As Rob likes to say,”I am not literal about Scripture; I am not literal about hierarchical authority; I am literal about grace.” In these pages, you will discover a literal grace that can renew your faith.