Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd : a non-reviewer's review

I wish I could write good reviews.  I can never give a good book it's proper due.  I stumble over my words, hovering so where between "it's an honest read" and "I laughed 'til it hurt" most of the time.  It will help if I keep this short.

I would consider myself a pacifist.  I don't like violence.  I shy away from conflict.  I'm not into guns or hunting.  I have no desire to kill anything.  In fact, I eat meat mostly out of how inconvenient being a vegetarian is and because of the fact that I am a somewhat lazy person.  

A Farewell to Mars isn't just a book about nonviolence, it's a book about active peace.  It opens up to the ways of Jesus, the peacemaker himself, and shows that he had a new way of doing things here on Earth.  All these years later and it's still a new way because we are slow and stubborn people who like to see people pay.

This book sheds light on the person of Jesus having a lot to say about how people, individually as well as communally, should live in this violent world.  War and violence saturates our history, and Jesus came not to slay our enemies once and for all but to put to death the very idea of redemptive violence.  

I really appreciated Brian Zahnd's stories as this, too, is "an honest read.";). He opens up on his past failures as a pastor, revealing his honesty in changing his mind about something he had felt so right about all along.

The bare basics of this work is that we are to understand this Jesus as being the peacemaker.  He came to break apart the endless cycle of war.  Yet Christians continue to take sides, continuing to battle with flesh and a whole lot of blood.  This book proposes we do what we can to stop the cycle of violence.

I've read through this book twice now and I think it is a great read that helps quiet the soul.  Meditating on the path of Jesus is something we all need to do from time to time.  Thinking of the crowds and authorities that stood against him and his selfless reaction to it all is so otherworldly that we can't help but forget it the moment after we're reminded of it.  This book is a reminder of peace that would be helpful to read regularly.