Theology nerd and host of the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, Tripp Fuller, has launched a new book series of ‘Homebrewed Christianity guides’ to different aspects of theology. The first of the series is out: The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus: Liar, Lord, Lunatic. . .Or Awesome? The subtitle references C.S. famous apologetic work Mere Chrisitianty where Lewis claims that if Jesus said and did the sorts of things he claimed to be he was either God himself, a liar or a madman (or something worse). Fuller does call Jesus Lord, but he doesn’t think Jesus ever actually claimed to be God. He posits a more inclusive category: Awesome (‘freakin’ awesome).
Fuller takes his readers through the contemporary literature on Jesus. He reads Jesus’s life through the lens of his Jewish context. He drops the ‘g’ from kingdom and talks about Jesus’s ‘kin-dom of’ God, “removing the phallus and the crown, because that’s how Jesus rolled”(57). Fuller then argues for diverse Christologies (just like the gospels themselves), a post-substitutionary atonement model, a high, Process Christology à la John Cobb, our need to let go of some traditional images of Jesus in order to grow spiritually and the role of doubt and faith for believers and skeptics alike.
The text is punctuated with cartoon-y images of a bishop, an elder a deacon, and an acolyte who make snide commentary on the main text, representing ecclesial, tradtional, the naive fan-boy and the skeptical perspectives.
Fuller’s views will appeal most to progressives as he argues for a more open approach and posits a process theology over-and-against a ‘Chalcedonian Christology.’ Yet his questioning and probing has led him to see Jesus’s awesomeness.
I don’t agree with all of Fuller’s conclusions, in part because I don’t accept all of the assumptions h brings to reading of theology or the biblical text. But Fuller never expects his readers to agree with him completely, these are the answers he’s come up with as he has has dug into Jesus. The goal for his guide to Jesus is more modest–he provides ingredients for his readers ‘to brew their own faith’ (12-13). Books that you agree with wholly are ones you should have written yourself. I enjoyed looking at Christ through Fuller’s homebrewed goggles.
I give this four stars and recommend it for students of theology, pastors, seminary grads and educated laity.
I did get to discuss this book (and beer) with Fuller last month. Here it is:
note: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via speakeasy in exchange for my honest review.