The premise behind God in Slow Motion by Mike Nappa is that it is worthwhile to slow down and reflect on the life of Jesus. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to read the book.
In God in Slow Motion Nappa examines ten stories from the Gospels – the birth of Jesus, the woman at the well, the calling of Matthew, Jesus calms the storm, the woman who touched Jesus’ robes, John the Baptist questions Jesus, the raising of Lazarus, Jesus washes the disciples feet, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. He carefully weaves each story with stories with stories from modern life in order to draw out some character of Jesus. For instance, he connects the story of the calling of Matthew, with a modern story of a criminal transformed by God’s life, to his own struggle to be transformed by Christ.
Nappa relies on historical research in order to more fully “set the scene” for the otherwise brief gospel accounts. He also plays fairly fast and loose with “inspired imagination” to try to get inside the heads of the biblical characters. There is both danger and reward in this technique. The danger is in speculating what biblical characters might have been thinking, which could lead to a poor interpretation. The reward is that (of it’s done right) it helps the reader connect with the characters. All in all, I find nothing wrong with any of Nappa’s interpretations. They all seem reasonable. The reader should simply note that they are speculative.
God in Slow Motion is a solid book and Nappa is a good writer. Nevertheless, I was not blown away. I really didn’t learn anything new from the book. In many ways, God in Slow Motion was a lot like Altar Ego (see review), Jesus Is (see review), or Reclaiming Love (see review). It’s a solid book with good writing and good theology (more solid than Jesus Is) but it simply didn’t give me a new way of looking at the world. Like those other books I would recommend it for new believers, for those interested in devotional reading, or possibly for pastors who will be teaching on the topics addressed.
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