Much of what I thought about the book was expressed perfectly by Leela on this site: "I think what I wanted and didn't get was a richer portrait of Jesus-as-rebel.
(4.5 stars) The essential criteria for good preaching -- and books by preachers -- are eloquence and edification, and not (as some think) a deep intellectual depth. At heart, nonetheless, his message is extremely important: it is one of action, of applying learned concepts; the danger of the church of today is that of losing itself in self-assertive theological squabbles, neglecting (or never even realizing) the deepest points that spread over the entire Bible: love your neighbor, which means giving them money, time, and care.
This was a good book, but not as much fun as I'd hoped. That probably has as much to do with my expectations as with the book itself, though.
First, instead of the well-turned phrases I have grown to expect from Gomes, we get a work that substitutes extensive quotation of hymns and the writings of others for originality.
So what is the 'good news' or 'gospel' that Jesus preached and why hasn't it transformed our God-fearing, Jesus-praising society?
If you read Christianity for the Rest of Us or simply go out and look, you can find many vital churches preaching and living out "The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus" already.
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Gomes' gospel is very much rooted in time, time that has a beginning and and ending. The anger and fear stoked by certain so-called evangelical preachers are the antithesis of Gome's good news.
Made for a good read, but I thought the book lost it's luster towards the end as it seemed to become rather repetitive on the same issues (oppression, racism, counter-culture, etc). While I agree wholeheartedly with Gomes that homosexuals should be included in the church, be allowed to serve, and even take on leadership positions, I still maintain that homosexuality is a sin. the first wonder will be to see any people there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see; and the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there." (page 153) "The means that allows the winds of change to blow through the corridors of conformity is the powerful work of the Spirit, that third member of the trinity that makes the church a slave neither to history nor to the moment , but rather an agency of transformation." (page 204)
Born May 22, 1942, in Boston, Massachusetts from Cape Verdean parents, Gomes graduated from Bates College in 1965 and Harvard Divinity School in 1968. He also spent time at the University of Cambridge and is now an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, where The Gomes Lectureship is established in his name. Gomes was ordained as an American Baptist minister by the First Baptist Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1968. Since 1970, he has served in the Memorial Church of Harvard University; and since 1974 as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church.