The Ark

Faith in the Fog, By Jeff Lucas - Book Review

Mon March 3rd, 2014

Jeff Lucas is one of our premier Christian authors and a new book by him is always worth a look. This book starts on holiday, a time that is less relaxing and more frustrating. We are there for a whirlwind tour of the so-called Holy Land. We are also left to imagine an enigmatic image of Lucas that we would really prefer not to! Here we have our first understanding of Jeff's inner angst, and perhaps we will allow ourselves a moment to realise that we too carry similar human feelings. Those of us who have been around church a while now, have also been tormented by similar words and deeds. Jeff's skill here is not in exposing that, but in giving us a language to verbalise our journey and some balm to calm our raging fever. Lucas doesn't criticise anyone else, or point the finger anywhere but at himself, but in doing so he brings a realisation that our pointing fingers should also take the same turn as his. The book focuses on Peter's encounter with the risen Christ in John 21. Peter's original fishy miracle resulted in his commissioning as an apostle, and this later incident renews that calling. He talks about endurance but rather than rabidly preaching it with fist on pulpit, he allows it to sneak up on us and then nonchalantly mentions it in passing. His Jesus is one who shows generosity at times of our meagre poverty, and we find healing in his words. He writes revealing his own angst and inner battles, like the triumphant swimmer in the movie Gattaca, he holds nothing back for the return journey. You may see more of Jeff Lucas than you want, you may not find as many laughs per page as you have been used to (although, believe me, they are still there!) However, in the midst of the baggage of the well-known touring saint, you will find the scattered bones of an ordinary man that tell a story we all need to hear. Some writers reveal hidden aspects of beauty in the characters which they write about. Lucas, shows us the souls of their feet, the dirty bits of the Montgolfier brothers, their inner darkness, and in equal measure sparks of light flying from the stony impacts on their flinty hearts. A classic wordsmith. Every sentence has been crafted, polished and set in the correct surroundings. Along the way you will learn much about worship, about love, about grace and about prayer. This book will not leave you low, but reach out a strong arm to you, grasp your hand and pull you up. The final lines of the book are initially surprising but incredibly profound. It is such a delight to read the words of someone who is well-developed theologically, who is not afraid to talk about the pachyderm in the room, and when he does he can manage it without drooling down one side of his face to our mutual embarrassment. If you read his last book 'there are no strong people' this will be a challenging follow-up, if this is your first venture into Lucasology, it will capture your imagination and leave you reaching out for more. Order a couple, because you are bound to know someone else who needs to read it!