Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been reading a pretty breathtaking series of books: The Chronicles of Peniel. I read them out of order, which strangely I almost recommend. The first in the series, The Bestman, the Bride and the Wedding by Lutheran Pastor Michael L. McCoy was absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. If you are interested in the role fiction can play in communicating intricacies of the faith, you should get this, particularly for how it portrays the Office of the Holy Ministry. Please do note, however, I would not classify it as a family read aloud.
This book absolutely stopped me in my tracks. I thought about it for days and, now, even weeks later, I think about it and ponder its points.
The Bestman, the Bride and the Wedding is an allegorical and metaphorical telling of the Fall, the Church’s life in the fallen world, Judgment Day, and the Wedding of the Lamb. It is deeply Christian, provocative, and powerful. As a Lutheran, I marveled at the skill with which Rev. McCoy handles the Office of the Holy Ministry as an integral part of every aspect of this work. It’s amazing!
Does that mean it’s fare for a typical reader of Christian fiction? Maybe not. This isn’t a resetting of Scripture into contemporary, or even historical, terms. This is some hard-core narrative that stretches the imagination with lines of Scripture that may be unfamiliar to people but are handled pretty masterfully. This is sections of Revelations made at times uncomfortable clear.
I have to say there were shocking elements. Life in that (this?) fallen world, and how the Bride—the Church personified—was treated, brought tears to my eyes and, speaking frankly, it will be years before my children are ready to read this book. And, maybe oddly, I wrestled with the ending. But I think that may be, in part, the point. There is much suffering in the life. The time to come is well-worth it, but, still, evil and death and corruptions . . . it’s just so hard!
Specifically to you folks who are going to buy this: I want to mention that the crucifixion scene doesn’t include a crucifixion. I understand that reasoning better now that I’ve read other books in Rev. McCoy’s series. (Hang in there. There are Scriptural allusions that simply aren’t literal applications.)
If you aren’t used to reading allegory, it might take a bit to get the hang of it. But I found reading this book, and really the whole series, very much worth my time.
I plan to review subsequent books of this series soon. I think Rev. McCoy grows as a writer but this one in particular is a strong stand-alone. The series isn’t any sort of narrow story-line. There is always a mix of allegory, story-telling, and, ha ha, limericks, but Rev. McCoy is certainly onto something in his use of fiction in re-invigorating Christian perspective and understanding.
I’m thankful to God for this book.