I hope you’ve gathered that I want to encourage. I especially hope to support Lutheran authors and have gotten pretty generous with reading & reviewing Lutheran books of all sorts. But what happens when I read a book and I’m left thinking, “Oh. Huh. And this may be one of the most well-read novels by a Lutheran author.”
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll share my thoughts with you, one reader to another. But I won’t do a formal review. I don’t mean to impinge on anyone’s honor so this will also be a particularly unfindable post.
So, I finally read The Book of the Dun Cow. This was big in the late 70s and 80s. That is, it was named New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year and won a US National Book Award in the one-year category of Science Fiction.
But, huh. I can do dark, but this was a dark sort of dark! As in self-inflicted chicken abortion. And I kept thinking there would be something hinting or expressive of atonement. Or divine participation, let alone divine mercy. But the comfort appeared to me to be in terms of divine accompaniment. And that just doesn’t work for me. Not stand alone.
It was certainly well-written. Provocative. Sharp. Literary. Definitely literary. But in the face of real evil, it stirred up Lutheran longings that weren’t satisfied. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mental place. That happens with books & movies sometimes. I just don’t react to them well.
On GoodReads, I have several friends who really thought the book was great. I mean no offence to Walter Wangerin, who I think is still living though he’s had cancer, and I’m happily a nobody compared to him. Just about ALL his books have been recommended to me to read! Maybe a conversation or allusion could shed light for me.
I guess there are two more books, making it a series. Maybe I’ll read the next one to see what happens to my favorite character. Maybe they’ll give me a bigger, better picture.
But, overall, it’s made me realize that there are various types of comfort, even religious or Christian comfort, and some just can’t stand alone with me. What I want, whether it’s garbed in fiction or not, is a) divine participation, b) divine intervention, and c) divine atonement.
Thank you, Jesus, for your atonement!