Review: Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory
I thought this was an interesting premise for what was surely going to be a "preach it, Mister!" Christian fiction novella.
Nick receives an invitation to be a guest to dinner - with Jesus of Nazareth.
Naturally, Nick is a flawed character who has gotten away from God, and this dinner is a way for him to answer questions about his faith and Christianity as a whole from a man who should have the complete story - Jesus.
And while I like the way Jesus is portrayed as a regular man (he hates neckties, he digs dessert, etc) and it posed some interesting questions for me (especially considering recent convos with McMinister), it had several tragic flaws.
Most notably, declaring that every other faith on earth is WRONG. Not partially right, not "to each his own", just misguided, stupid and WRONG.
Doesn't sound like a very Christian approach to life to me - but then, people have tried to convert me more times than I can count, so maybe I'm just not as receptive to the "no god but OUR god, we're right, you're stupid, you better convert to us or you'll burn in hell for all eternity you useless non-believer, you" mentality that Christians seem to think have some sway over folks who might, just MIGHT have an opinion differing from their own, or are still searching for answers on their own timetable.
Also troublesome was Jesus' telling Nick that every word of the Bible is true and accurate - more accurate than people think, and that they should live by every word. If this be true, then there is a famous speech from President Bartlet of The West Wing I'd like to revisit...bear in mind, President Bartlet is a DEVOUT Catholic who's faith is never questioned:
BARTLET: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an "abomination!"
JACOBS: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
BARTLET: Yes it does. Leviticus!
BARTLET: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I wanted to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown Sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
(Bartlet only waits a second for a response, then plunges on.)
BARTLET: While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGary, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Or is it okay to call the police?
(Bartlet barely pauses to take a breath.)
BARTLET: Here's one that's really important, because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?
(The camera pushes in on the president.)
One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building when the president stands, nobody sits.
This might be just the right novella for you, or for someone searching for guidance in their faith, but it sure as hell wasn't for me.
Scribbled by Marissa