The Beginning and End of Wisdom, Preaching Christ form the First and Last chapters of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. By Douglass Sean O’Donnel
I’m actually sorry to be reviewing this book. I picked it up, because I share the Author’s affinity for Wisdom Literature. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible. I love it’s earthiness, it’s common sense take on life, and its ability to free one up. I find it flies in the face of what most people think scripture teaches. It’s a book that says enjoy life. Actually, it is a book I use to lift depression when it sets on. So I’m always curious as to what others make of that short book. The title intrigued me, and I ordered it. I wanted to see how someone else preached Christ from Ecclesiastes.
What I found in the book was far from what I consider to be preaching Christ. I am at theological odds with the author. When I hear preaching Christ, I think “Christ and him Crucified,” I think of death and resurrection, I think of the forgiveness of sins, baptism, and gospel, you know, good news. All of those things Christ came to do. Sure Christ preached law, he lived, died, and rose with forgiveness. The author seems to think that preaching Christ is regurgitating the Sermon on the Mount and finding precedent for it in wisdom literature. More or less, something like, well there is law in this bit, and look Christ says the same thing, or something like it here. This is preaching Christ as if Christ were a new Moses, a new law giver, nothing but moral mongering, for which I have little time for. Somehow, even watching football was demonized.
I was but traumatized when I learned that the first six chapters of this book, which mentioned Christ precious little, were actually sermons he had delivered. I felt sorry for the poor souls that had to suffer them.
For a second I thought he might get it when he opened up a section on “A New Work Force” on pg. 74, but then was let down when I saw he passed up a great opportunity to talk about our vocations and how we serve God in all that we do, and instead turned it in to a lecture about doing more for the church etc. He could stand to read Dr. Vieth’s book “The Spirituality of the Cross” to get a better grip on vocation and how it is we really do serve God. In short, I found the book tediously frustrating.