Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Book of Strange New Things

Michael Faber addresses unusual ideas and raises philosophical questions but writes page-turners. In this book he follows Peter, a Christian and evangelist, who leaves his wife on earth to take the Gospel to aliens.

They seem to understand enough to want to embrace this way of seeing the world but we wonder if they are capable of such a response to the Bible (The Book of Strange New Things, as they call it).

We wonder what happened to the previous evangelist replaced by Peter, about whom little is said. And we wonder if building a church is the best use of all this spiritual energy, a question close to my own heart.

A further complication is that the affairs of earth seem to go badly wrong while Peter is away and his wife has to face economic disaster, famine and riot. Can their relationship survive the distance? Is his job worth it?

All good questions that were faced by Victorian Christian families taking the Gospel overseas. See what you think.

I have also enjoyed and been challenged by Under the Skin and The Fire Gospel by the same author. Those were relatively short works; The Book of Strange New Things is longer and develops ideas more fully.

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