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When Donkeys Talk: A Quest to Rediscover the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity Paperback – January 22, 2013
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--Shane Claiborne, author and activist
"An imaginative and persuasive apology."
--David C. Steinmetz, Kearns Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Duke Divinity School
"A compelling Pilgrim's Progress for today."
--Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology, Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto
"A real tour d' force!"
--Phyllis Tickle, Author, Emergence Christianity
"Funny, insightful, and compelling, When Donkeys Talk is a faithful guide into a world of miracles"
--Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College
"Blanski's book does just what St. Augustine says our rhetoric should do."
--David Bartlett, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School
"Tyler Blanski here works a deep magic in bringing to vivid life the riches of the sacramental vision."
--Rodney Clapp, author of Tortured Wonders: Spirituality for People, Not Angels
About the Author
Tyler Blanski is a housepainter, writer and musician from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hillsdale College. He is currently pursuing holy orders at Nashotah House Theological Seminary. Tyler is the author of four previous books, including the creative non-fiction Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred. Visit Tyler's website: tylerblanski.com.
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It's a great book, and a fast read. Blanski's historical work and Scriptural understanding are sound and the book truly helped me rediscover mystery and wonder in the faith. A treasure to have in my library.
Like a lot of good reads, this book is difficult to categorize. Yes it's a theological exploration, but it's also a memoir, and even a long, jazzy, monkish prayer. Tyler starts with the Old Testament story of the talking donkey, and catches himself not taking the Bible's crazier magic seriously. He rides on from there, a bit like Quixote, looking for magic, and exploring the ways that Christianity has not changed and perhaps should not change since the middle ages. He takes us all the way from Noah to baptism, and it's a beautiful, bumpy ride.
I still wish Tyler had called this book "When Asses Talk." This is a passionate writer's romp through Christianity, and the worm cans he opens up and the stones he leaves unturned may keep you up at night, but that is probably a sign you're thinking about this stuff the right way.
Stephen the Philistine, Tyler's sparring partner in many discussions, said it right; whether or not you agree with everything in the book, you'll be glad to have Tyler as a traveling companion for thirty too-short chapters. Of course this isn't our excellent cousin's final book (it had better not be), but so far it's his best.
Blanski does a wonderful job of debunking current pseudo-scientific approaches to reality with his parables of Atomland. Although he doesn't actually quote, he DOES reference another of my favorite theologians, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Blanski emphasizes what I firmly believe. The human knowledge which can lead us to become arrogant and heartless if it is not informed by creative love must be redeemed along with everything else in a Christ-centered, Holy Spirit permeated reality. Otherwise, as both Lewis and Teilhard emphasized, it rapidly becomes demonic.
Anyone looking for the "same-old-same-old", venerable ideas encased like flies in the amber of archaic language and thought patterns, might as well give this book a pass. However, if you are seeking the basic truths of Christian belief presented in a non-dogmatic, charming and challenging way, I believe you will be greatly rewarded by Tyler's writing.
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