Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review: of Tyler Blanski's "When Donkeys Talk"

Tyler Blanski offers us an opportunity to return to our roots: the history of the Christian Church. In When Donkeys Talk: A Quest to Rediscover the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity (Zondervan, 2012) he takes us back to the days when Donkeys talked, when miracles happened, and people recognized them as such.  Blanski writes that he had ‘never taken most of the bible seriously” and that he had turned “stories of God-on-earth into ‘life lessons’”.  And in an age where the prevailing philosophy is “it’s all good’, it seems obvious that Blanski may not be the only one who thinks this way.
 Although I sometimes found the writing style (a style that I imagine many people will find refreshing) cumbersome, the story itself is compelling, and it’s one that most people need to be reminded of.
            Recent polls show that the percentage of people who identify as Christians is decreasing, and I wonder if in part it’s because within the glocal culture ‘Bible Stories” are seen as just that, stories written to entertain, parables or analogies meant to illustrate something. As we increasingly allow science to shape our views, we become proportionately blinder to the tenets of our faith. We miss out on angels, on miracles, on God at work in our lives, because an expert has said that it can’t happen that way. When ‘it’ can’t happen but it does, I think we have a miracle.
            One basic scientific belief is that to prove something it has to be observable and replicable. I’m wondering which of today’s scientists were there to observe any of their theories about creation, dinosaurs and a number of other things, and can they replicate it in the lab?  While not advocating a total overthrow do science, Blanski reminds us that some things can’t be explained scientifically, and that’s because they come from a God who is beyond comprehension.
            Only when we become open to the miracles, can we truly understand the grace that God offers us. The miracles in our lives today may not be preceded by an angel saying ‘do not be afraid’, but the miracles are still happening. And as Blanski seems to be saying, the less we believe in the miracles of old, the harder it is to see them today. Conversely, as we rediscover the mystery of the ancient faith, the more likely we are to see the miracles in our lives today.
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.
Again I liked WHAT Blanski has to say, but I wasn’t a fan of HOW he said it.  4

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