The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark
That’s not my title. That’s the title of a self-published book by the Rev. Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones, priest for pastoral care at Trinity Church Wall Street. You can find the book at Amazon, and it raises a question: is Bozzuti-Jones the finest satirist since Swift, or is he a candidate for a rubber room? I’ve read the opening pages, and I genuinely can’t tell. It is so over the top that I can’t believe it isn’t satire, but the writer is a classic TEC lefty. Here’s the blurb at Amazon:
“The Gospel of Barack Hussein Obama According to Mark” is designed to initiate the reader into a meditation on what it means to be human, what it means to be a manifestation of God, and how Barack Obama is a unique and important manifestation of God’s desire for human flourishing. In a blend of words from his public speeches, imagined conversation, and fictional situations, the book highlights Obama’s real stance on social justice and, in particular, economic and political empowerment. It juxtaposes ancient Biblical form and contemporary reality, challenging the reader to see and seek God in all persons. “Our life-defining texts must be porous and we must be imaginative in our engagement with them. Let this book be a reminder not to so credit sacred texts or cultural icons that they lead us to hatred and violence in the name of God. When we see the Divine in another, we must name it. We must respect it. The practice demands nothing less than Love.” Mark F. Bozzuti-Jones, Author
The effort at pulling our leg continues at Trinity Wall Street:
The book comes from Bozzuti-Jones’ incarnational theology. “I think oftentimes, as Christians and as a world, we don’t give sufficient credit to what it means to be born in the image and likeness of God. I think if more human beings could see the divine in the other, they could recognize that human beings can point to the divine in each other.”
How does one read the book? Perhaps it helps to think of it as genre literature, meant to inspire and teach. “The gospel is a kind of a genre: it’s poetry, it’s imagery, it’s metaphor at their best.”
Bozzuti-Jones doesn’t equate his book with the four gospels in the Christian Bible. “There are other gospels and the early church decided that these weren’t legitimate enough. I guess you could say that my gospel falls into the subset of not-legitimate-enough, but on close examination I think what this book does is gives the theologically savvy person an insight into how the original gospel writers saw Jesus and how they put his words together in a way that made theological sense.”
Go to Amazon, and click on the “Look Inside!” button. Read the first few pages, a weird conglomeration of the creation and nativity stories, with Obama playing a key role as The One born to a virgin (!). Then come back, and please tell me: is this satire, or have we really got the start of a new religion in the works?
(Tom Crowe of CatholicVoter.com writes about this book today. He says, “I’m pretty sure this book is really trying to be what it says it is. Otherwise it is a deadly brilliant parody that exceeds even The Onion proportions.”)
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