Not long ago, I read a book, non-fiction, entitled Love Revolution, by Gaylord Enns. In the book, Pastor Enns reveals that the church has for most of its history passed over the one great New Testament commandment, in favor of a safer, more comfortable Old Testament one.
The commandment we favor is the one that says we shall love our neighbor as ourselves. The one we’ve passed over is the only new commandment Jesus ever gave, and that is that we love one another as he has loved us.
Do you see the difference? Does it frighten you?
Love Revolution is a wonderful book, one of a few non-fictions from this century that have blown my mind. It’s the kind of book that leaves me with more questions than I came with, and a frantic need to know: What would that kind of love, the love of Jesus incarnate in the church look like? How would it walk and talk in this world, this life?
On May 28 we will host a guest-blogger who has written a novel that comes as close to walking me through that answer as I’ve seen in any book, non-fiction or fiction. Our guest will be Claudia Mair Burney and the novel is titled Zora & Nicky.
Madeleine L’Engle once said she liked books that have something underneath. Zora & Nicky has a universe underneath – or perhaps even a heaven.
It’s a romance, and I rarely read romances, owing to a bias that began when I was twelve and read halfway through a Halrlequin book or two, or maybe less than halfway. I felt, even then, that something ought to happen in a story besides two people falling in love, swooning, weeping, slapping faces and waiting by the phone.
More happens in Zora & Nicky – Claudia made sure. To start, she made Zora black and Nicky white and drew them from controlling, bigoted families intent on keeping them apart, but that’s just the beginning of sorrows. On the surface, this book is about a bi-racial couple falling in love. Underneath it is about how estranged we all are, what a failure to love and be loved has done to each of us, and how we mend the tears. The picture of restoration Claudia offers is like a heart-wrenching glimpse of a home far away. It not only walks us through the living out of Jesus’ great commandment, but it provides a compelling answer to the question of why the novel matters, and what a specifically Christian-themed novel can offer: a frank, enchanting exploration of the broken, God-soaked world we all inhabit.
Claudia Mair Burney, fearless explorer, we can’t wait to hear from you.
And you, dear readers, please discuss Zora and Nicky if you’ve read it, or any other book that came to mind as you read this post. We love to read what you have to say.