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Coming to Grips with the Contradictions of Jesus
Author: Tom Taylor
Publisher: Baker Books
Some books you read and other books read you. Nothing can top the Bible for reflecting our spiritual condition, but Paradoxy by Tom Taylor is such a fine commentary on the seemingly contradictory statements of Jesus that you canít help but see yourself. Since we all fall short in many ways, the image of ourselves is not always pleasant.
As Oswald Chambers once said, when we finally ďhearĒ from God itís accompanied by a mixture of joy and guilt. There is joy in seeing the truth, but sorrow and regret for having been so slow to realize it. Thatís what one can experience when someone like Taylor makes the sayings of Jesus so clear. Thatís not to say that this book is depressing. It has the potential to liberate.
Welcome to the upside down world of Jesus where slavery is freedom, giving brings satisfaction and weakness is strength. Through his careful analysis of Jesusí use of paradox, Taylor gets at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. Itís dying to live. Itís keeping your eye on the invisible. Itís discipleship 101 in a nutshell.
Taylor consistently gets beneath the surface of what Jesus said to arrive at what it really means. He takes a fresh but accurate look at the Scriptures.
He lays to rest the idea of giving with the aim of getting something in return. In his excellent treatment of the subject, he writes, ďJesusí point is simply this: lending and expecting nothing in return is called giving! That means weíre not in it for the payoff.Ē
Poignant stories, quotations, personal examples and an examination of Scripture serve to show that Taylor knows what he is talking about. Though published by Bakerknown for academic worksTaylor breaks the bread of life in such that anyone can be nourished. The writing is terrific; the truths are life-changing.
This might be especially helpful to those who struggle. Itís no magic cure, but it gets at the essence of what it means to be a Christian in a world governed by opposing values.
Michael Dalton 9/18/2006