Seriously Funny (by Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas)

I have been reading, re-reading and thoroughly enjoying the books by Adrian Plass for many years. He's one of my favourite modern Christian authors. Probably my favourite of all from the UK. He combines humour - some of which makes me laugh out loud even on the third or fourth reading of a book - with amazingly thought-provoking insights.

However I had not heard of Jeff Lucas until recently when a friend lent me one of his books. I enjoyed it very much, and thought I might look out for more that he had written.

So I was delighted when I saw that, newly published, was a book by Adrian Plass AND Jeff Lucas. I naturally ordered it at once, and have just finished reading it.

What a gem it is, too. It consists of letters which these two writers exchanged over some months, with a brief introduction by each of them at the beginning. I'm assuming the letters - if the book really did start its existence as informal corresondence - have been heavily edited; but it hardly matters. The personalities of the two comes across with that wonderful mixture of humour and deep 'aha' moments that I've found so often with Adrian Plass's writing.

There are amusing - sometimes embarrassing - incidents recorded by them both. I love the way that these demonstrate their fallibility and humanity; they're often missing in books by 'famous' authors (Christian or otherwise). There are some clever lines scattered around here and there, easy to miss if reading too fast (although a few of the choice ones appear in the blurb on the back).

Perhaps most importantly, there are a great many thought-provoking discussions about church life, and Christian conferences, and ways that God might - or might not - speak to his people. So much that both Plass and Lucas write resonated strongly with things I've thought, or indeed heard from other people.

They don't answer any deep questions, or solve any world problems. They don't even solve any theological issues. But what they do is to take their Christian faith as an everyday part of their lives, recalling failures and disappointments rather than successes. All done with humour and the overwhelming feeling that these 'famous' Christians are just ordinary folk like the rest of us.

I read it in just a couple of days, and found it tremendously refreshing and encouraging. I would recommend it highly to any Christians who might be feeling cynical, or disillusioned, or indeed anyone just trying their best in a low-key kind of way to follow Jesus.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 26th August 2010

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