THE UNEXPECTED TEACHINGS OF JESUS: Encountering the Gospels All Over Again

John Coleman, Author . Jossey-Bass $18.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-7879-5983-8

Coleman, a "father, teacher, and minister," one day came to the now rather commonplace realization that people's status in life affects their reading of the Gospels. Moving from this revelatory moment, he began to fashion some readings of passages from the Gospels that are sometimes ignored but that powerfully teach lessons of love, compassion, faith, holiness and peace in unexpected ways. His collection features readings of the "blindside teachings," "(re)visionary teachings," "shalom teachings," "perilous teachings" and "restorative teachings." For example, his section on "blindside teachings" retells the story of the Pharisees' challenge of Jesus and his disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath. For Coleman, the unexpected teaching of this story is that "the Sabbath was supposed to be a gift, not a burden." In his section on the "perilous teachings," Coleman retells the story of Jesus turning water into wine at Cana, and declares that the unexpected teaching of the story is that "the wedding feast had to run out of wine for Jesus to perform a miracle." Each of the 34 meditations is accompanied by an "invitation to reflection" containing questions for individuals and study groups. Coleman's reflections are neither new nor startling, and his conclusions are often simplistic, e.g., "Extravagant acts grow out of extravagant love." Moreover, his reflections often read like mini-sermons with a didactic tone rather than warm invitations to think anew about the Gospels. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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