Recently, I tweeted a photo of my friend’s book.
One person on Twitter told me they didn’t like it.
Jesus wasn’t mentioned until something like page 149.
Now, granted, we’ve all agreed for years that real Christians name check Sweet Baby Jesus in the first 100 pages. (Check out my book Stuff Christians Like, that thing is crawling with Yahweh.)
And I’ve actually heard that comment before in a number of different ways. Sometimes people say that about books on social justice. The gospel isn’t direct enough or front and center enough. I think there are times when that feedback is justified, but we also have to be careful. The reality is that, if you want God more explicitly mentioned in books and stories, you’d probably hate Jesus. At least a little.
Have you ever read any of that guy’s stories?
Take the prodigal son for instance. Great story. Solid tale. Valuable lesson. Not one explicit mention of God in the whole thing. That is bonkers!
And the story before that is about sheep and coins.
Sheep and coins! Where’s the God love? Where’s the direct and clearly explained gospel? That is bananas!
The truth is, Jesus knew how to tell a story. He knew that sometimes you quoted the OT, or just the T in his days, and sometimes you told a tale about a son in a pig pen. Sometimes you went explicit, and sometimes you talked about talents buried in the ground.
Let’s not lose the gift of storytelling. (I hold Donald Miller responsible to bring it back like Justin Timberlake.) Let’s not lose sight of our audience. Let’s not hate on someone just because they decide to tell a parable. There was another guy who told a ton of those, and it’s OK to be like him.