Well, after announcing the brand new Tim Keller book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, in our post last night (and the “blog special” sale on it) I’ve pondered a good question posted as a comment by a friend: how does this new book by a thoughtful and urbane Presbyterian theologian/pastor compare with the lovely classic by Catholic mystic, activist and devotional writer, Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (Image; $16.00.)? Good question!
I have written a bit about my impressions of dear Henri, who he was, his temperament and gifts and struggles, and how he exegeted this great Bible story in light of the wonderful, brooding painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. You may know the story of how Nouwen came to sit in front of the great painting in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The contrasts between the books are notable, yet both are remarkable. And both draw on the solid Biblical scholarship of Middle Eastern scholar Kenneth Bailey (whose books I also tell about in the column.) You can see it all in the monthly column for October, which you can find it the “reviews” section of the website, here.
We would be delighted if you read my reflections, and perhaps added your own in our comments section here. What do you think? Thanks.
A friend of a friend sent me a fabulous photo of a close up of the brand new, rich, bronze Keller cover, arranged on a nice oaken table, and an ancient looking bottle of some rare ale. (It was really to large to copy here.) It was titled “something old with something new.”
I think both brothers Henri and Tim would have enjoyed that picture, a fellow happy for a good new book about the gospel, enjoyed over a pint of the fruit of God’s good creation. I wish the two of these gentleman could have had such a drink together. (And will, as Keller’s book points out, with its reminder of the great feast that is promised—don’t miss his insightful take on Babette’s Feast, by the way.) I’m sure they both would have cherished the time, and come away glad, deepened in grace. We commend both their books; I assume many BookNotes readers know the oder Nouwen title. And we truly hope many buy, read, give and discuss the new Keller. Sorry we can’t supply the ale…