Bite this book

It happens that a book might as well bark at you; its dog ears one too many of its prize-winning pages.

"God Laughs and Plays" is the first book I have finished reading so far this year. And there's no stopping me from unleashing again an urge to pore and mull over such watered-down notions on faith and finding joy, how these are suffused with the wildness of its rage and the grace of its wisdom, easing you into an introspection so chockful with a grin and chuckle every now and then.

God bless writers like David James Duncan. He with a maverick's sulphur in the stomach, a Zen master's zoom into sunlit sense of things, and a stand-up comedian's sass. All the world may be a stage for buffoons and charlatans, but Duncan affirms it's also a garden of wonder, a shore of fathomless possibilities, a temple in a playground along a river where fly-fishers can romp around like children.

"Duncan is a scandal both to the institutional church and to secular snobs; a truly dangerous man," a reviewer defines Duncan. Blame it on his writing, "a mind-bending trip through spiritual thought over the ages, with plenty of stops by the wayside of the troubled, politicized present." After all, this book as subtitled is a subversive trove of "Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalists Right."

Forgive me if my tongue is wagging like a tail regarding another reviewer's unabashed description of Duncan and his book: "He has been a denizen of the wilderness for forty years and has returned with liberating parables and allegories that are majestic, rib-tickling, and timeless. He has brought water to the desert of self-righteous 'Christianity' and in so doing, restores our faith in faith itself. Read it once and you will laugh. Read it twice and you will play again with God as you did when you were a child..."

And here's the publisher's postscript: "It is the vision of an activist sage. A sage ecologist. An ecological mystic." Now you see why I'm drooling rabidly.

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