Award-winning songwriter and Biblical scholar-extraordinaire, Michael Card, is soon to release in stores the first book in his Biblical Imagination Series. Combining forensic, textual integrity with informed, imaginative narration, Luke: The Gospel of Amazement is a unique contribution to the exegetical form Michael simply calls “reintegration.”
According to Card, while disintegration comprises every unnatural division caused by Man’s First Sin, reintegration comprises the healing of those very same relationships. Not surprisingly, disintegration extends to how we approach Scripture: either we read with sentimentally inclined hearts and disengaged intellects or with highly astute minds and insensitive hearts. Michael’s hermeneutic offers that imagination is the bridge between the classic tension of heart and mind.
Throughout Luke: The Gospel of Amazement, Michael gives illustration after illustration of how the informed imagination is implemented in various topics from Luke’s authorship to the theme of his book. For example, Luke is not an eyewitness to the life of Christ which means that he had to have interviewed those who were (Who were the eyewitnesses?). Luke is identified as Gentile which explains his moderation of a Jewish bias (Why is Luke generous in his view of the Pharisees?). In one of his epistles Paul refers to Luke as a doctor which explains why Luke’s editorial intellectually reflects that profession (Why does Luke extensively use medical terminology?). Michael weaves such brick-and-mortar facts into a cohesive profile with a consideration posed by his own informed imagination: What social context would have produced an inquisitive writer like Luke? Could Luke have been a slave?
Card’s proposal is not absurd. After all, textual and historical evidence support his premise. Medicine was a popular slave profession amongst the Romans. Even the name “Luke” is a common slave nickname, a possible diminutive of “Lucius.” Scripture does not expressly say that Luke was a slave, but neither does Scripture expressly say he was not. However, it is with the reintegration of the imagination that Luke’s life-situation becomes alive to us, and we develop a dynamically deeper appreciation for and grasp of his words.
Similarly Michael analyzes Luke’s writing style, unraveling the theme of radical reversal: those who should get it don’t while those who shouldn’t get it do. In Luke the marginalized tax collector, the despised woman, the parabolic slave, and the poor “get it” while the priest, the Levite, and the Pharisee do not. Time and again, Luke underscores that nothing is as it appears, the summation expressed in what Michael Card calls the “radically reversed blessings and woes” of the Beatitudes. Traditionally understood as merely the academic distinction between “Old” and “New” Testaments, Michael reframes the radical reversal of the Beatitudes in light of the historically epic upheaval of Rome as the backdrop to Luke’s Gospel.
Luke loves the parable and punctuates his account with twenty-one out of the thirty-three recorded in the Gospels. In Luke Christ’s parables open the way for a miracle which provides an opportunity for the parable to move from the mind of his listeners to their hearts. The result is the greater miracle of the opening of blind eyes. Luke never leaves us to believe the parable is the main point, and neither does he leave us to believe the miracle is the main point. Ever the keen etymologist, Michael identifies Luke’s theme of radical reversal in light of paradox: “We have seen things that might otherwise (para) bring glory (doxa) to God.” It is not merely the hearing of the parable or the witnessing of the miracle: it is the imagination that bridges the mind and the heart.
Luke: The Gospel of Amazement is an enjoyable and informative read, bursting with Michael’s innovative framework, contextual color and fascinating observations. Card’s companion album Luke: A World Turned Upside Down will be simultaneously released in stores, too. A musical compliment to his book, it chronologically highlights the major themes of radical reversal in the poetically folksy, balladic form for which Michael Card’s music has been known throughout the world. Featuring the talent of saxophonist Kirk Whalum and the instrumental contributions of over a dozen others, Luke: A World Turned Upside Down is a fascinating musical tribute to Luke: The Gospel of Amazement.
Facebook: Robbie Grayson
Bio – Mr. Grayson was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida in 1972. He spent most of his childhood in West Germany and England from 1977 to 1990. From 1988-1994 he seasonally taught and counseled youth at the American Youth Association (AYA) in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Upon high school graduation in 1990, he studied Elementary Education and English Literature at a religious college in Pensacola, Florida called Pensacola Christian College (PCC). After graduation Mr. Grayson ventured into Classical Education for two years and founded Stone Table in 2000. After headmastering for ten years he is now Developmental Director. He teaches Philosophy, Math and Science for the 2010-2011 school year. Mr. Grayson is married with six children.