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Robert Farrar Capon: Saved in his Death

He was a man who savored the gospel's dark playfulness.

I have a vivid memory from my teenage years: my father flat on the living room couch, face up, reading a book, and chuckling every thirty seconds or so. It was perhaps the most genuine laughter I have ever heard–small, quiet, irresistible chuckles of joy, rolling off the couch one after another. I finally asked my dad what was so funny. I'll never forget the substance and style of his response. Pointing to his book, and not turning his head toward me even an inch, lest his eyes stray from the page for a moment: "This guy is great." The book? Robert Farrar Capons's Parables of Grace.

Years later, well after graduating from college, I saw the book on the shelf, and asked my dad if I could borrow the tome. Like father, like son: I laughed and laughed as I devoured Capon's treatment of the parables of Jesus. This was commentary unlike any other I had ever encountered. Here was a man, this Capon, who knew Jesus unlike anyone else I knew. Not a fabricated Jesus ...

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