cover image The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus

The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus

Peter J. Gomes, , read by Patrick Lawlor. . Tantor Audio, $29.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4001-0499-4

While veteran narrator Patrick Lawlor possesses ample talent for the general duties at hand, one can't help wondering how such a noted preacher as Gomes—Harvard's longtime religion professor and campus chaplain—might have presented some of the more fiery elements of his material. Gomes's thesis centers on the established Christian community's reluctance to embrace a socially relevant theology. Gomes, a self-avowed “blue-state” clergyman, offers a harsh assessment of rigid and exclusivist fundamentalism. Yet he also calls to task his theologically moderate-to-liberal brothers and sisters inside mainline Protestantism for abandoning their social gospel heritage in favor of a watered-down and highly personalized brand of faith. Lawlor demonstrates a capacity for vocal inflection, reading inspiring quotes from such figures as Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. and theologian Paul Tillich with particular enthusiasm. But the shifts in tone and delivery that might fully convey the distinction between Gomes's sermon to the choir and his broader message for the culture at large sometimes are lost in the shuffle. Simultaneous release with the HarperOne hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 10). (Dec.).