What do I think about Bruce Marchiano’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
My wife’s an artistic person and likes images much more than I do. In our marriage, I like to tell people that I am the head and she is the heart. I’m a largely rationally driven person. She’s an emotionally driven person. We both have Asperger’s which makes it an interesting combination. We’re also both Christians and when she watched The Gospel According To Saint Matthew, she started looking up Bruce Marchiano who played Jesus in it, also known as “Smiling Jesus.”
When she found out that he had some books out, I was immediately going to the library web site and saw only one listed, Jesus Wept, which I decided to order to surprise her. I’m always encouraging her to read after all.
And she did. Only took a day.
She also wanted me to read it.
So I did.
First off, I’m thankful that someone like Marchiano is in the acting business who actually cares about serving Christ. If only we had more like that. I’m also thankful that Marchiano is out there wanting to make films for a Christian audience and in fact engaging tough issues, such as one coming out called Alison’s Choice about trying to counsel a young woman out of getting an abortion. One other movie, The Encounter, I was pleased to see even referred to the slaughter of the Canaanites as an issue for Christians to deal with.
Now to get to the review, I will say that being the rational-based person, I found myself not being affected the way my wife was, which was something that had me wondering for awhile. Marchiano writes with a lot of passion and writes with a lot of word pictures and such to get one to feel the situation that he is talking about. His book is meant to help us work through the problem of evil and find solace in times of suffering. Now personally, I’m terrible with empathy. If someone comes for counseling, I prefer to let them talk to my Mrs. as she is the much better listener.
Marchiano places an emphasis on September 11, which has become equated with evil in our culture, and who can blame him? If anyone wants an example of evil in our time that really grips us, it’s September 11. Most of us can remember that day. While I am not a person known for empathy, I do remember that day as well. I could tell you where I was when I first heard the news and remember being in Bible College watching on TV when the second tower fell.
The situation for me as I read a book that has anything to do with theology in any way is to go through and check and make sure the theology is right and make sure the historical claims are accurate and all the ducks are in a line. There is a place for that and it is needed. For the most part, I think it is for Marchiano. There are of course a few places that I would have liked to have seen something different said and something made more clear, but that’s okay.
The light didn’t really click until I got to the last chapter and something in there got me to think about how it would be to picture my own wife reading this book, thinking about what she has gone through recently in her life and the change that Christ has brought. Then I realized “Why yes, if someone is hurting and they are someone who accepts the Christian worldview, or if they want to have a greater appreciation for Jesus while already being a Christian, then this would be a good book for them.” As someone who emotionally connects in that way, I then realized why it is that she cared so much for this.
Same effect on me? No. That doesn’t say anything about Marchiano as a writer necessarily however. I think it says more about me. I get much more excited about the things of God if I read a good book on Christian apologetics or the historical Jesus or something of that sort instead. My spouse would not have her eyes light up to get an insight into the culture of Jesus through historical studies that I would. That’s okay.
Yet at the same time, it is important to not eliminate either side from the picture. Yes. I am the more logical thinker of the two of us with a stronger rational side, but it is important to realize that there are people from a more emotional bent and recognize that some works are written for them as well. I as the one with the rational bent can appreciate then on my wife’s level something she’d like and she in turns does recognize the importance of my emphasis on the life of the mind and learning about that as well.
So in the end, I think that a lot of people could be comforted by Marchiano’s book. For those who are just struggling with some suffering and want to know how Jesus can relate, I can recommend it.