My Favorite Theologian
I will lead a study of Song of Songs in February at my church. I will post more on it as we get closer and throughout the study. I have read many books to get ready, yet I keep coming back to one author. This author, my favorite theologian whose writings are breaths of fresh air and cool showers. He speaks of grace and God’s love like it is the most marvelous, unbelievable thing in the world and that it is true—that God loves us, as we are no strings attached makes all the more wondrous. His works even though they are theology read like poems and love letters. He writes vibrantly and powerfully about the Gospel and the Kingdom.
C. S. Lewis (who I also like) writes clear and calm and Capon writes wild and irreverent. I know for some theology is not the most favorite thing to read. Most of it is dry, intellectual, and abstract. That is not the case with Robert Farrar Capon. He writes from his heart for the public. He has worked as a clergy and freelance writer, so he is connected to those we writes more than most theologians would be.
Robert Farrar Capon an American Episcopal priest and author is a lifelong New Yorker, for almost thirty years Capon was a full-time parish priest in Port Jefferson, New York. In 1965, he published his first book, Bed and Board, and in 1977, he left the full-time ministry to devote more time to his writing career. He authored twenty books, including Between Noon and Three, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus, The Supper of the Lamb, The Fingerprints of God, Romancing the Word, and The Astonished word. Capon described himself as an “old-fashioned high churchman and a Thomist to boot.” One of Capon’s primary themes is the radical grace of God. Capon also had a lifelong interest in food and cooking, and authored several cookbooks. Capon was a food columnist for Newsday and The New York Times, and taught cooking classes. He is as ardent about cooking and good food as he is about God’s grace.
My favorite quote of his that I have read numerous times may help you understand why I adore him so much.
“In Jesus, God has put up a “Gone Fishing” sign on the religion shop. He has done the whole job in Jesus once and for all and simply invited us to believe it—to trust the bizarre, unprovable proposition that in him, every last person on earth is already home free without a single religious exertion: no fasting till your knees fold, no prayers you have to get right or else, no standing on your head with your right thumb in your left ear and reciting the correct creed—no nothing. The entire show has been set to rights in the Mystery of Christ—even though nobody can see a single improvement. Yes, it’s crazy. Yes, it’s wild, outrageous, and vulgar. And any God who would do such a thing is a God who has no taste. Worst of all, it doesn’t sell worth beans. But it is Good News—the only permanently good news there is and therefore I find it absolutely captivating.”
Capon’s writing is deep and lively. For me, he has opened up new vistas of God’s radical offer through Jesus that we are saved, graced, and embraced beyond our wildest dreams and that none of it is of our doing. God through Jesus on the cross has done it already. All we can do is live into the grace lavished on us. God doesn’t want to set up impossible barriers—no hoops and hurdles—God merely wants to be in relationship with each of us.
Grace and Peace