Easter season is usually when I re-read Christopher Moore’s “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.” It’s totally irreverent, but only if you allow yourself to be easily offended. I instead find it a powerful reminder of Christ’s humanity: that a real person went through everything he went through. We can fall into the trap of assuming it was all easy for him, but no–he had a human body with all the emotional and physical pain that goes along with a human life.
But this year I didn’t need to return to “Lamb” for help remembering that. Now I have a son of my own, and the impact on my understanding of God’s relationship to Jesus and both of their relationship to us, to humanity, is intense. The depth of my love for Sam is indescribable; he’s only 7 weeks old but I would still do anything to protect him, even if that meant trading my life for his. Suffering would be painful but worth it if it meant saving him; the suffering of losing him would be worse than whatever else I had to endure instead. I can empathize more clearly now with the pain God felt while Jesus was crucified for us, as well as the deep compassion they had in order to go through all of that for the trade-off of opening salvation to us.
Those were my deep thoughts at 5:00 a.m. this morning while feeding my tiny son. Life has been hard lately, so the hopefulness of Easter is encouraging!
And now for another step back from Copper and writing to discuss my current reading and the reflection/inspiration that has been developing from that.
Have you ever heard of Christopher Moore? (Not to be confused with Michael Moore, which did make me momentarily hesitate when I first heard about his writing). Anyway, Christopher Moore is a hilarious writer. He takes his stories and just makes them absurd–lots of larger-than-life characters with fascinating quirks, dirty mouths, and often otherworldly spins (like a stupid angel or a bratty demon). It’s fun stuff. What I’ve read so far has been hit or miss, though. I adored “A Dirty Job” and laughed a lot through “Practical Demonkeeping,” but “Fool” was a mess and “Fluke” got really boring.
What is my favorite of all his books?? By far that title goes to “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.” It takes the true Gospel and then fills in Jesus’ “missing” teenage years with what he and his best friend Biff experienced on Jesus’ journey to fulfilling his role as the Messiah. It is absolutely creative and hysterical; I highly recommend it to anyone (with a sense of humor, of course, who won’t be offended by the non-Biblical treatment of Christ and will instead appreciate the entertainment value in this story). Actually, in a lot of ways it made me feel closer to Jesus to remember his humanness and how hard it must have been for him to face his calling.
It’s “historical fiction” in the best sense… based on historical events and people, but taking GREAT liberties to make the story funny and the characters relatable.
Which got me thinking… maybe this is an avenue for me to explore in a future writing project. I love Joan of Arc. I think she is one of the most fascinating historical characters that exist, with a lot of controversy too (was she freaking awesome or kind of crazy?) that I could easily work into a book in the style of “Lamb.” I’d base it off the historical facts, but embellish her thoughts, motivations, struggles…
I think it could be interesting, and I don’t believe it’s been done yet.
So I’m filing that idea away for a future writing project :)