The churn of history is daunting, and Christianity—the long spine of our puritan culture—is a great way to track progress through the ages. Nick Page jumps on that project with wry aplomb in this brief history. In doing so, he answers a question many in the Christian community are dying to figure out: in the age of the internet, how do we make Christ interesting?
Cheeky but airtight, Page's writing glows with a reverence and knowledge for the subject matter—which makes his carefree confidence easier to swallow. Author of more than 60 books (many on Christianity), Page has clearly done his research and does a great job of contextualizing ancient events for the modern reader. But it's his sugary voice that makes the medicine go down. I found myself chuckling throughout.
For instance, here's Page writing about the second century theologian Origen: “In his early reading of the Bible he read Jesus’ apparent commendation of ‘eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 19.12). So he castrated himself. After this, not surprisingly, he abandoned a literal approach to the Bible and started reading it more as allegory.”
Going through the litany of outcasts, redeemers, strange edicts, and nonsensical treaties, Page reminds us how rebellious, courageous, and plain bizarre the followers of Christ have been. Did you know St. Patrick was an English slave? Or Benedictine monks invented clocks? I didn't. The book is rife with little tidbits like these. Whether believer or unbeliever, orthodox or nondenominational, you can't help but fall into the compulsively readable, surprisingly digestible history of Christianity.