Without question, my favorite people in the bible (other than Jesus) are the prophets. They are brave, bold, brash, and more than a little eccentric. Like Nathan or Elijah, they often speak truth to power. But my favorite part of the prophets is their imagination.
In particular, Isaiah doesn’t just dream of a prolonged period of peace where nations decide to take a break from going to war with each other, he dreams of a new creation where the lion and the lamb, the wolf and the kid, live in harmony with one another. The prophet can stand amidst the rubble of a destroyed Jerusalem and dream not just of functional walls and manageable housing, but can prophesy of God’s great Jubilee where there would be a city that would give light to all the nations. A place where all the nations would bring their treasures in order to discover the source of life that was at work there.
People may laugh at the prophet’s audacity and even fear that they are a little “over the top,” but we need the prophet because if our vision is not lifted to what could be by God’s Spirit, then we will settle for what we can manage in our own strength.
It is that spirit of audacity that caused me to enjoy reading Love Does. I heard Bob Goff speak a few months ago in Washington DC. I know now that many – especially some of my friends around Point Loma where Bob lives and teaches – have known about him about the book for some time. But for some reason I have been out of the loop. (Probably living under and academic rock).
I found the book fun, inspiring, humorous, visionary, and at times too good to be true. All of which makes it not only a good read, but also perhaps a prophetically necessary one. Bob’s quirky audacious hopefulness is the crazy stuff of lion and lamb. But the fact that it is good story telling and easy to read does not make its ultimate message easy. Like the prophets, it leaves the reader wondering, “Am I doing love? Or am I just a good student of it?”
A few of Bob’s stories have already found their way into my preaching and teaching. If you are looking for a good read for your family, small group or Sunday school class (btw - there are discussion questions available online), you could do a lot worse than Love Does. But only read it if your home, group, or church is ready to do something and not simply have one more discussion, because love does.